Sharing is caring!


Ever since I was a kid, these cookies have been known to me as “Puff Cookies”, they were always made for special occasions by my Mom and Aunt Eileen. These cookies are seen in almost every Italian Bakery in my neck of the woods. I’m sure you might recognize them by a different name, such as Crescents, Butter Balls, Italian, and Mexican Wedding cookies and Russian Tea cakes. I’m sure there are many other names, but to me they will always be, Puff Cookies!
Like little puffs of snow, they just melt in your mouth upon impact, they are truly one of my favorites!

making cookiesMy family never made the crescent shape, ours were always rolled into a ball, placed onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, and then pressed in the middle with your thumb print.

making cookies

The thumbprint creates a nice indention for the powdered sugar to fall into it.

powdered sugar cookies
Right from the oven gently toss the cookies right into the powdered sugar coating them all over.
puff cookies
Place them on waxed paper to finish cooling down.
They’re hard to resist while laying there cooling off, you might want to give them a taste test. They’re buttery and instantly melt in your mouth!
cookie can
I always make these for the holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and any other special occasion in my family, it’s a tradition.
Plus I always make extra so I can pack some up for everyone to enjoy at their home as well.
cookie can
 Some cookies always bring up the best memories, with just one bite it brings you back, these puff cookies do that for me, I hope you give them a try!

This recipe makes quite a bit, I’m sure you could cut everything in half, but why would you? There will be more to share with your family and friends.



  • 1 lb. unsalted butter, room temperature ( very important)
  • 4 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons, good vanilla
  • 8 teaspoons sugar (yes that's right just 8 teaspoons)
  • ¾ cup ground pecans ( it's optional but recommended )
  • a bowl of powdered sugar
  1. Cream butter in a heavy mixer.
  2. Add sugar and vanilla and mix til fluffy.
  3. Add in flour until well incorporated.
  4. When dough is finished make teaspoon sized balls and place on a parchment lined sheet pan.
  5. Make a thumbprint in each ball.
  6. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
  7. Immediately gently roll the baked cookies into the powdered sugar until well coated.
  8. Let them cool completely on wax paper.
  9. Enjoy!
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Sharing is caring!

Italian Sauces My Way E-Book


  1. my great aunt used to make cookies that tasted much like I imagine these will, except hers were square and she called them whatever the Italian word for liars is sadly she’s passed and sadly, never wrote out her recipes no matter how hard we begged

  2. Can they be frozen? Thanks! Cannot wait to try!

  3. These sound wonderful – it’s that butter and the disappearing factor!

  4. Make these every year…so good. Slightly different recipe, but similar enough. I toast the nuts before grinding them. Addictive.

  5. These are now on my cooking baking list for tomorrow!

  6. When do you add the vanilla…guessing with the butter right?

  7. I would name them Sicilian Snowballs. Going to try them. They look delicious.

  8. These are sitting on my cooling racks waiting for our cookie exchange later today.

    They are absolutely delicious, and they really do melt in your mouth!

  9. lori lynn, thanks and same to you!

    Lisa, Snowballs, yes I heard them called that before. They just melt in your mouth just like snow!

  10. We called them snowballs; my mother used to make them when I was a kid. So delicious!

  11. So festive! And the snowflake so very apropos for Chicago weather. Beautiful cookies for a White Christmas…

    Marie – Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

  12. they really look like thy will melt in your mouth. Very tempting ..:)

    Wish You n your family a Merry Christmas , and a Happy New Year.

  13. Jenndz, Sounds like you’ll be having lots of goodies!

    Maryann, You’re not kidding!! Maybe it was a blessing in disguise!

  14. Do you now see why I told you to join the DBs in January? haha

  15. Oh man, these are so good! My aunt just made some!

  16. Val, I hope you do, I’m sure you will like them!

    Glamah, I was on a roll, now I’m done!!!

    Rowena, Mmmmm, macadamia nuts, that would be so good!!

    Happy Cook, I keep very little, and give them all away. But yes, they were good!

    Maryann, yah, your right, they call them that too. I think every nationality has a version of these.

    Kevin, You got to try them!

    Lorraine, same to You, Bru,the Princess, and your MIL xxxxx!

  17. Marie – these look fab, so light and I can imagine they just melt in the mouth – yum!! Great pics too!! Have a fabulous Christmas:)


  18. These puff cookies sound really good.

  19. Funny about the different names. We call these Sicilian Wedding Cookies. I love them too, Marie! So Good! Thanks for posting them 🙂

  20. Wow they looks so delicious. Must have been delicious when u had them yumm

  21. Boy do I ever remember these! At a bakery where I used to work, we made hundreds, no make that thousands of these throughout the year. However instead of the pecans, we used small diced macadamia nuts (for that Hawaii touch). One of my favorite cookies to eat, although to make by hand is another thing entirely! 😉

  22. Your just the cookie baking machine! I love these.

  23. They do sound “melt in your mouth” good!!! I may just have to give them a try!

Please leave a comment


Rate this recipe: