These light and fluffy Almond Cherry Snowballs are packed with both red and green candied cherries, which in our home, is the epitome of holiday baking. Prepared with the most basic of pantry ingredients, these cookies are nothing short of extraordinary, and they taste like an old fashioned Christmas at home!
Despite the fact that these cookies are called Almond Cherry Snowballs, there actually are no almonds in the recipe at all. The almond in this recipe rests only in the addition of the almond extract. In my opinion, almond extract tastes fruity – almost like cherries, in fact. So in this case, the almond extract is simply adding more fruity/cherry flavour to these already delicious cookies!
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I absolutely love to make these cookies. They’re just so easy to make! Not only do you get to mix everything together in just one bowl, but there’s no need to roll the dough into balls, or use a rolling pin. Just use a cookie scoop to portion out the cookie dough, and set them right onto your prepared baking sheet. They hold their shape in the oven and bake up light and airy.
There are probably a million Christmas cookies that have the word “snowballs” in the title. In fact, I have a few of them right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen. The most popular of the snowball recipes that I have are my Traditional Newfoundland Snowballs. I prepare a batch of those every year. They make a great addition to a cookie platter or a cookie tin that you prepare for friends and neighbours. Another really great snowball recipe of mine comes in the form of a truffle. Check out one of my favourite recipes from my 12 Truffles of Christmas series, my Cherry Snowball Truffles.
LORD BYRON’S 24 COOKIES OF CHRISTMAS – VOLUME 5
I’m so excited to kick off this year’s cookie countdown! This is the fifth consecutive year; can you believe that? Each of the previous years has included 24 cookies and this year will not be any different. I’ll share a new Christmas cookie recipe each and every single day for the next 24 days – even on Saturday and Sunday!
You might be asking yourself, how many Christmas cookie recipes could one possibly have or need? Well, I say you can never have too much of a good thing. And, I love having lots of choices. Who wants to bake the same holiday cookies year after year?
So, welcome, Dear Reader, to Volume 5 of Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas! Fresh off of my 12 Edible Wreaths of Christmas and my 12 Bars and Squares of Christmas series, I’m ready to plow through the next 24 days with you!
You really don’t want to miss one of these recipes, so if you have not yet subscribed to Lord Byron’s Kitchen, I encourage you to do so. That way, a new recipe will be emailed to you every day. You won’t have to bother to come looking for it! Like in previous holiday baking countdowns, I like to mix up the recipes in the series so that there is something for everyone. Are you ready!!??
Looking For More Christmas Confections?
Lord Byron’s Kitchen has more than enough to satisfy your sweet tooth! Click on the links below to see a countdown series of holiday recipes from that category!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO PREPARE THIS RECIPE
The following is a list of the ingredients needed to prepare this recipe. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
- Butter – Make sure your butter is at room temperature! To be perfectly honest, I have made these with both salted and unsalted butter and there’s no difference in taste or appearance once all is said and done. Use what you have on hand.
- Canned Sweetened Condensed Milk – This recipe has not been tested with low-fat condensed milk. Depending on where you live, the size of the can may differ. Be sure to have at least 1/2 cup!
- Almond Extract – This extract certainly makes up the bulk of the flavour. If you don’t have any, you can use all vanilla extract instead, but almond extract adds that fruity flavour I spoke about in the introduction.
- Flour – No need for anything special. Just use regular all-purpose flour. I have not tried this recipe with any other type of flour.
- Baking Powder – This is used to increase the volume of the batter and to add texture as well.
- Candied Cherries – These are very popular in Christmas baking, especially in fruitcakes. I buy the whole red and green candied cherries separately so that I can pick which colour I want to use. If you buy them whole, you can chop them if you prefer smaller bits of cherry, like in the case of this recipe.
- Sanding Sugar – Coarse sugar, sometimes referred to as sanding sugar, is used sometimes for decorative purposes. It is sometimes called pearl sugar or coarse baking sugar.
In this particular recipe, I use one cup of candied cherries in total. I opted to use half red and half green cherries. Obviously, you can use all red or all green if you choose. I love candied cherries and I love how the red and green colours just jump out and create a wonderful contrast to the butter-coloured cookie. They’re perfect for Christmas!
When I’m looking to use candied cherries, Paradise Fruit Company is my go-to source. They have the brightest, most plump, most perfectly round red and green cherries. You can get all of their products online. Be sure to check out the website!
Just for a bit of trivia, let me just add this in here. Candied cherries are basically maraschino cherries that have been processed in a thick, sugary syrup. They become intensely sweet and take on a chewy texture, which works very well in baked goods.
SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK
I have a lot of recipes here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen with sweetened condensed milk as one of the ingredients. (Click here to see them!) Growing up in Newfoundland, it was always something I’ve been aware of. But, that’s not the case for everyone. I get many questions from readers about it. For someone not familiar with the gooey, sticky canned milk, it might be easily confused with canned Carnation condensed milk, for instance. Let me explain what it is here.
So, first of all, it’s condensed. The milk is condensed by removing water. This can be accomplished by applying heat. The water will evaporate causing the milk to condense, which thickens the milk. Sugar is added to sweeten the condensed milk. The main purpose of adding sugar is to prolong the shelf life of condensed milk, which can sit on room-temperature shelves for years. Sugar prevents microorganisms from growing in the milk and helps to thicken it even further—it’s added after the milk has been boiled, reduced, and pasteurized.
If you find unsweetened condensed milk, it’s most likely that it’s simply evaporated milk or condensed milk, which is thick, but not gooey and sticky. Evaporated milk is often used as a cream added to tea or coffee. If you are unfamiliar with it, please read the can carefully. Also, shake it – can you feel the liquid splashing about inside the can? If so, it’s not sweetened condensed milk; it’s evaporated or condensed milk only!
SANDING VS GRANULATED SUGAR
I use coarse sanding sugar quite often in my recipes, and I hope it hasn’t been too difficult for you to find. Sanding sugar is sometimes referred to as baking sugar, and there are some substitutes. You can use other sugars – which are basically the same, but named something differently – there’s pearl sugar and coarse sugar. You cannot, however, use granulated sugar. Let me explain why.
Whereas an individual granule of sanding sugar is large and hard, a single granule of granulated sugar is quite small. Sanding sugar will hold up to the heat in your oven without melting; granulated sugar will not. If you cannot find sanding sugar, you can either skip it completely for this recipe, or you can simply dust the top of your snowballs with confectioner’s sugar once they’ve completely cooled.
You can find sanding sugar online, but it’s expensive in comparison to what you can find at a baking supply store. I buy most of my sanding sugar at Bulk Barn. They have just about every colour you will need! You can also use turbinado sugar. Turbinado sugar is a golden brown though, so it will throw off the colour of your finished cookie.
Lord Byron’s Annual Christmas Cookie Series
Did you know that Lord Byron’s Kitchen has been sharing a 24 Cookies of Christmas Series for the past several years? Click on the links below to see all of the recipes from each series on one page!
HOW TO MAKE ALMOND CHERRY SNOWBALLS
This is an easy recipe and comes together very quickly. The first thing you want to ensure before you get started is that the butter is at room temperature. I cannot stress how important this is! If the butter is not completely softened, you will not get a dough to form with a consistency that will pack together well. The butter must be soft, but not melted, so do not put it in the microwave to soften it. Leave butter at room temperature for 3-5 hours or even overnight!
Add the softened butter to a mixing bowl and beat until light and creamy – about three minutes. Next, pour in the sweetened condensed milk and beat into the butter for two minutes. Beat in the almond extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again for another minute or two. Finally, add the flour and baking powder. Beat into the butter and milk mixture until mixed through. Add the chopped candied cherries and beat lightly just to combine.
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Using a cookie scoop, portion the dough into mounds onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Be sure to leave at least two inches between each mound of cookie dough. Sprinkle the tops of each of those cookie mounds with sanding sugar.
Bake for 12 minutes at 320 degrees F. Remove them from the oven and leave them to cool slightly on the pan for five minutes. Finally, remove from the baking sheet and transfer to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
STORING, PACKAGING, & FREEZING
When it comes to most cookies, they taste best at room temperature, but they don’t hold up well to being left out on your countertop for long periods of time. Cookies will stay fresh in a cookie jar or food-safe container with a lid for 3-5 days if left to sit on your kitchen countertop. You can store them in a food-safe container in your fridge. When you want one, two, or half a dozen, take them out of the container and place them in a single layer on a plate. Let them sit at room temperature for 5 minutes and they’re ready!
If you plan to freeze your Almond Cherry Snowballs, you certainly can! Once completely cooled, pile them into a clean, food-safe container. The container must be freezer friendly! You’ll want to ensure a very tight-fitting lid too. I use these quite often when freezing baked goods. I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. If you plan to give previously frozen cookies as a gift, I would lay them out on a wire cooling rack to thaw completely. If packaging, wait until the condensation has evaporated. Once thawed, pile into cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon, or stack in a cookie tin/box.
If I have not answered all of your questions in the text above, don’t hesitate to reach out to me! You can contact me by sending me a message in the comments section further down the page. I will try my best to answer as soon as possible! You might reach me even faster by following me on Facebook and sending me a private message. Scroll down to follow me and never miss another recipe!
Finally, as I stated previously, every day I will be posting a new recipe. If you miss one, don’t fret. You can find my entire collection of Christmas Recipes right here! There are over 200 Christmas recipes and counting. There’s something for everyone! Cheers!
Do You Like This Recipe?
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Almond Cherry Snowballs
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup chopped red candied cherries
- 1/2 cup chopped green candied cherries
- 1/4 cup sanding sugar
- Preheat your oven to 320 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Add the softened butter to a mixing bowl and beat until light and creamy – about three minutes.
- Next, pour in the sweetened condensed milk and beat into the butter for two minutes.
- Beat in the almond extract.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again for another minute or two.
- Finally, add the flour and baking powder. Beat into the butter and milk mixture until mixed through.
- Add the chopped candied cherries and beat lightly just to combine.
- Using a 2 tablespoon sized cookie scoop, portion the dough into mounds onto the prepared baking sheet. Be sure to leave at least two inches between each mound of cookie dough.
- Sprinkle the tops of each of those cookie mounds with sanding sugar.
- Bake for 12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave them to cool slightly on the pan for five minutes.
- Finally, remove from the baking sheet and transfer to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
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