Grandma’s Cherry Snowballs

My grandma is an awesome lady — I wish I knew her better.

She’s still alive n’ kicking, but my grandma has Alzheimer’s disease and hasn’t recognized me  for a long time now. I visit her occasionally and I see her at family dinners, but I could and should visit her more often.

Especially since my grandma has one of the kindest hearts and sweetest dispositions you could ever hope to find in a person — she loves animals and people and I remember someone in my family once telling me that the most terrible cuss they’d ever heard her say was “hell’s bells”!

From what I know from the stories she’s told me, she grew up just a block from where I grew up and attended the same school (back when it was a high school — by the time I went there it had been switched to an elementary school and the high school had been moved to a bigger building down the hill).

I went to the same university as she did, but she majored in social work while I did an English degree.

My grandma even belonged to a sorority (back when sororities did charity work instead of drinking with frat boys) and worked with the YMCA to help underprivileged children.

I remember once she gave me a bottle of pale green glittery nail polish for Christmas, and, upon seeing it, my teenage self exclaimed, “Grandma, this is wicked!

“Oh… well,” she said, “If you don’t like it, I can always take it back.”

Then I had to explain to her that wicked meant awesome, kind of like how bad can mean good. I think she was a little perplexed, but accepted the fact that I liked her present after all.


Ironically, my grandma wasn’t the family cook — that was one of my grandpa’s passions — but this is her cherry snowball recipe.

My mom pulled it out of an old recipe file a few days ago and immediately I knew I had to make it and share it — the season, the timing, the fact that I was looking for one more Christmas cookie recipe — everything aligned.

Grandma’s Cherry Snowballs


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 45 ~ 55 maraschino cherries
  • granulated sugar or icing sugar, to finish


Sift together the all-purpose flour, almond meal, and salt. Set aside.

Cream the butter and icing sugar together until smooth. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and stir to incorporate.

Stir in the sifted flour and almond meal, then mix until the dough just comes together. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to make the dough easier to handle.

Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set them and the maraschino cherries by your working area.

To form a cookie, pinch off a tablespoon-sized piece of dough and work it into a flat, round disk. Use your thumb to press an indent in the middle of the disk and place a maraschino cherry in the indent. Wrap the dough around the cherry to encase it, then smooth out any seams in the dough.

Repeat with the rest of the dough and cherries until all the dough is used up.

Bake the cookies for 30 ~ 35 minutes, or until the dough appears to be firm and dry — do not let the cookies get too golden!

Remove the cookies from the oven, wait 2 minutes for them to cool a little, then roll the hot cookies in granulated sugar to coat them evenly. Work quickly.

If rolling the cookies in icing sugar instead, wait until the cookies have cooled for 30 minutes before rolling them.

Makes about 45 ~ 55 cherry snowball cookies.

I know there are thousands of snowball cookie recipes out there, but this one is special to me because it’s my grandma’s.

So, have a safe and happy holiday, and make sure to give your grandparents a big hug when you see them.

Merry Christmas!

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18 thoughts on “Grandma’s Cherry Snowballs

  1. mrmykie says:

    They look so delicious!!!! I don’t have any Grandparents left so give yours an extra big hug from me. Have a great Christmas!! Xx

  2. What a lovely tribute to your grandma! Time can be fleeting, so I am glad that you realize how lucky you are to still have her around.
    The cherry almond combo are flavors I always enjoy, so I know these are delicious. The extra bonus is that they look great on a cookie tray! Great post- I am glad we became friends this year, I look forward to next year!

  3. Kaitlin says:

    It’s always wonderful to keep family traditions alive! They look amazing!

  4. These look so good! I love this version with the cherries! That’s such a cute story about your Grandma! Love the memories a food can bring back 🙂

  5. Your Grandma had your number: “wicked” indeed. These should look nice in your cookie assortment.

  6. Josie says:

    I love that you value that recipe of your grandma – these look great tasting and cute

  7. Elies_Lie says:

    the cherry snowball looks amazingly lovely!
    Tq for ur kind comment on my blog and tq for sharing your grandma recipe 🙂
    I mother in law have a stroke about 2 month ago and she can’t remember all the family member, quite sad, but we still our faith in the Lord, now she can remember a bit and start to walk slowly 🙂
    Hope ur grandmother healthy and happy whatever her condition is, as long as all family member loves her… no more better than that 🙂

    • Christine says:

      Aw, I hope your mother-in-law recovers quickly! Family illness is difficult on everyone.

      My grandma does seem pretty happy in her day-to-day life — she gets tired easily and forgets whether or not she’s had lunch, but otherwise she’s doing fairly well. 🙂

  8. daisy says:

    Beautiful round cookies, and with a great cherry surprise!

  9. These look amazing! Stumbled upon your blog today and I’m a fan! 🙂

  10. I love this recipe. I’ve never had anything like it before. Hope you had a good Christmas! Thanks for sharing

  11. peasepudding says:

    The cookies are great I have some Damon’s in gin that would be perfec for this and I have been wondering what to do with them. It’s nice that you good memories of your Grandma when growing up.

  12. These look fantastic. What a nice thing to be able to make knowing she made it too.

  13. I hate cherries but these look really good 🙂

  14. What a cool idea, putting a little fruit inside the middle of a cookie! And have that gooeyness pop into your mouth when you bite into it. Mmmm.

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