Orange Scented Snowballs


The kids have started to come home from college, the tree is up and (mostly) decorated and I’m ready to crank up the Christmas tunes.  We even finally tossed the pumpkin on the front porch into the compost pile, and hung a real wreath on the door.  Let me admit: the approach to Christmas decorating at House Morell is rather understated – We never quite get it together to hang twinkling lights on the house. A wreath is a major achievement.

I’d rather spend my energy in the kitchen.  Obviously.

The great cookie binge of 2014 would not be complete without M’s favorite – the classic snowball.

I was a bit apprehensive to tinker with his mother’s recipe, but I came across Triple Orange Mexican Wedding Cookies in the Washington Post’s annual collection of holiday cookies, and was inspired to add some orange influences to the mix. Generous doses of Grand Marnier and grated orange peel add a citrusy punch to the salted pecan cookie dusted with powdered sugar…

(Oh, you noticed I raided the liquor cabinet again for my baking?  ‘Tis the season…)

Nearly half a dozen disappeared as soon as they were dusted with powdered sugar.  At least the house is decorated with cookies…


Orange Scented Snowballs

  • Servings: about 36 cookies
  • Print

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (other orange-flavored liqueurs, such as Triple Sec or Cointreau would also work…)
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups finely chopped toasted salted pecans
  • powdered sugar, for dusting


Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the orange peel and Grand Marnier, and mix until combined.  Add the flour and chopped pecans, and mix until well combined.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls.  Place 1 inch apart onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake 18-25 minutes or until very lightly browned.  Cool about 5 minutes, roll in powdered sugar while still warm, and dust with additional powdered sugar when cooled.

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