Being from Newfoundland, I know a thing or two about snowballs! They are a very traditional treat on the island, and loved by everyone. But, who says they have to be chocolate flavoured? Christmastime treats conjure up warming spice flavours, just like the ones in these Holiday Spiced Snowballs! This version is void of chocolate, but has an explosion of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger!
In no way am I suggesting that you replace your traditional Newfoundland-style snowballs with these Holiday Spiced Snowballs! As a fellow Newfoundlander, I know that would be blasphemy! I’m suggesting, however, that you prepare both versions this Christmas and double the amount of goodness on your cookie platters!
Traditional chocolate flavoured snowballs are simply referred to as snowballs by most Newfoundlanders, and it might be one of the most common confections prepared at Christmastime across the island. I’m not sure I can say that I’ve ever had a Christmas pass by without eating at least a few of them.
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My mom used to make them often, however, I can’t recall if her recipe used a store-bought chocolate cake mix, or if she made hers using cocoa powder. My ex wife used to make these as well, but I think she was the one responsible for introducing me to the cake mix approach. Either way you dice it, these are so freakin’ delicious! And so easy too! You can find my traditional snowball recipe here.
This particular recipe starts out the same, but has some added ingredients for flavour, and some sweetened condensed milk for sweetness and stickiness. If you forego the condensed milk, it will be almost impossible to roll the cookie dough into balls. Are you ready for a change? I swear, Dear Reader, you will enjoy this spiced snowball just as much as your original chocolate version! Let’s get to it!
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!
COCONUT IS A GREAT CHRISTMAS BAKING INGREDIENT!
Every time I run a Christmas baking series, I have to find a way to incorporate a recipe that is absolutely laden with coconut flavour! I love coconut in any form, but when it comes to baking, nothing reminds me so much of my mom as a cookie made with coconut!
Most of the coconut recipes that you see here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen were inspired by my mom. I really do think that I get my love of coconut from her! Although, unlike mom, I don’t bake with coconut regularly. I tend to save it for special occasions, while she would bake with it almost weekly. If she were still with us, I’m sure she would love one of these snowballs with a glass of Newfoundland Purity Raspberry Syrup! The Newfoundlanders reading this will totally understand!
For years I have been baking with coconut. But, it was only a few years ago that I learned that the best way to get the most coconut flavour from shredded baking coconut is to toast it first. It’s so easy to do and I do it now without fail! Remember last year’s Toasted Coconut Biscotti? Or the Toasted Coconut Bundt Cake?
HERE IS A LIST OF INGREDIENTS YOU WILL NEED:
- Butter – Make sure your butter is at room temperature! Salted or unsalted works!
- Evaporated Milk – This is canned milk, but don’t confuse it with sweetened condensed milk! I’ll discuss the differences in the next section.
- Sugar – In this recipe, the sugar is heated with the milk to make a syrup.
- Oats – Unless stated, always use quick cook rolled oats in baking recipes.
- Coconut – Baking coconut comes in sweetened and unsweetened and in different sizes. Unless otherwise stated, use unsweetened coconut when baking otherwise the result might be too sweet. Be sure to check the size too – is it supposed to be shredded, grated, etc? The size of the coconut will affect the outcome of your recipe.
- 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 my differ. Be sure to have the full 14 ounces!
- Pumpkin Spice – This is a blend of ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Depending on the brand, allspice is sometimes absent, but I think the flavour is better with it.
EVAPORATED VS CONDENSED MILK
Both canned sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk are concentrated milk. About 60 % of the water content has been removed. They are both the same at the start, but there is one major difference. Condensed milk has sugar, and a lot of it! In contrast, evaporated milk is unsweetened.
Condensed milk is referred to as both condensed milk and sweetened condensed milk. Once most of the water has been removed, sugar is added before canning. Condensed milk contains 40 to 45 percent sugar. It’s rich and thick, with a caramel color and a super-sweet flavour. If you see a can labeled unsweetened condensed milk, it is not condensed milk. It is just a poor name for evaporated milk. It’s not the same at all, so don’t buy it thinking that it’s a better option because it will be sugar free!
Evaporated milk is also made by removing water content. It is then homogenized, packaged, and sterilized. The result is a dense, creamy milk that can be canned and stored. The high heat used in processing also adds a slightly caramelized flavor and darker color than regular milk. There are skim, low-fat, and whole milk varieties of evaporated milk.
When in doubt, go by this general rule: If looking for condensed milk, look for a can that says sweetened condensed milk. And, if looking for evaporated milk, make sure the can does not say sweetened! Generally speaking, sweetened condensed milk comes in a smaller can than evaporated milk. That’s not always the case, but for the most part, the cans do differ in size.
COCONUT – SHREDDED, FLAKED, DESICCATED??
When it comes to coconut to bake with, there are two kinds – sweetened and unsweetened. Those two types can be found in different levels of fineness and coarseness. It’s important to use unsweetened coconut for this recipe. Otherwise, with the addition of the shortbread and the white chocolate, these Holiday Spiced Snowballs may be too sweet to eat!
The size of the shredded coconut won’t make a difference to the taste, but it certainly will make a difference when you try to roll the mixture into balls. The longer shreds of coconut will make for a messier bite and you want your delicious snowball to look just as amazing as it tastes!
Depending on the brand, some coconut is shredded, grated, or desiccated. Shredded usually refers to larger pieces, while grated tends to be smaller. Desiccated has nothing to do with the size of the pieces, but means the coconut is dried or that the moisture has been removed. In most cases, you will find a fine or medium grade. Medium is my personal coconut of choice in most cases and it is what I used here.
MOM’S COCONUT FAVOURITES!
I can’t help but think of my mom when working with coconut. She absolutely loved it! It has been five years on November 17th since mom passed, so making these Holiday Spiced Snowballs are certainly triggering a lot of fond memories today. When I was young, I never baked or cooked with her. But, back in the late 90s, my sister and I shared an apartment together. Mom spent many evenings there with us while we stocked the freezer with some of her holiday favourites.
Just in case you’re wondering, some of her favourites were these Marshmallow Coconut Balls and these Jumbo Marshmallow Balls. Yes, she loved marshmallows too! Another one of her favourites were Traditional Newfoundland Snowballs. But, that’s no surprise at all. Everyone – and, I mean everyone! – loves those!! The same can be said for these Chocolate Coconut Balls.
But, without any doubt or reservation, I can honestly say that one of her favourite holiday cookies to prepare were Jello balls. In fact, when I shared her recipe here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen, I called them Mom’s Christmas Jello Balls. So, as you can see, Dear Reader, I get my love of coconut from her. As I’m writing this, I’m smiling to myself thinking about how delighted she would be if she could read this. She loved to share her recipes; in fact, I have fond memories of her scribbles in a collection of notebooks. Which reminds me, I have to steal those from my sister!
HOW TO MAKE THESE HOLIDAY SPICED SNOWBALLS:
In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add the evaporated milk and the sugar. Stir to combine and continue to heat until the milk begins to scald. Once you see little bubbles around the outer edge of the hot milk mixture, add the pumpkin spice and start a timer. Continue to cook and stir the mixture for a full five minutes. Once done, pour the hot liquid into a large glass mixing bowl. Allow to cool slightly.
Next, add sweetened condensed milk and stir until well incorporated. Finally, add in the quick rolled oats and 3 cups of the coconut. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir the oats and coconut into the milk mixture. It will be sticky, but it’s important to mix well to ensure everything is evenly distributed and coated.
Add the remaining coconut to a bowl. Portion mixture into slightly heaping tablespoons and roll into balls and then roll into coconut. Place the balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Once all rolled, place the baking sheet in the fridge, allowing the cookies to chill and firm up for one hour. After that, the balls can be transferred to a food-safe container. Keep snowballs refrigerated until just before serving.
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!
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. These cookies will stay fresh for a long period of time, but must be stored in the fridge. These do not hold up well to sitting out on a warm countertop. When you want one, two, or half a dozen, take them out of the container and place the container back in the fridge.
If you plan to freeze your Holiday Spiced Snowballs, you certainly can! Once chilled, 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 onto a wire cooling rack to thaw completely. 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 100 Christmas recipes and counting. There’s something for everyone! Cheers!
Do You Like This Recipe?
You should consider trying these other delicious recipes too!
Holiday Spiced Snowballs
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin spice seasoning
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 5 cups quick cook rolled oats
- 4 1/2 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut
- In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add the evaporated milk and the sugar. Stir to combine and continue to heat until the milk begins to scald.
- Once you see little bubbles around the outer edge of the hot milk mixture, add the pumpkin spice and start a timer. Continue to cook and stir the mixture for a full five minutes.
- Once done, pour the hot liquid into a large glass mixing bowl. Allow to cool slightly.
- Next, add sweetened condensed milk and stir until well incorporated.
- Finally, add in the quick rolled oats and 3 cups of the coconut. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir the oats and coconut into the milk mixture. It will be sticky, but it’s important to mix well to ensure everything is evenly distributed and coated.
- Add the remaining coconut to a bowl. Portion mixture into a slightly heaping tablespoon and roll into balls and then roll into coconut.
- Place the balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Once all rolled, place the baking sheet in the fridge, allowing the cookies to chill and firm up for one hour.
- After that, the balls can be transferred to a food-safe container. Keep snowballs refrigerated until just before serving.
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