These fun Polar Bear Pawprint Snowball Cookies are made up of melt-in-your mouth nutty, buttery cookies that are lightly flavored with a hint of peppermint, then dipped in a creamy, white chocolate, coated with coconut & decorated with chocolate chips. Perfect for holidays, winter themed parties, birthday parties, and snow days.
I wanted to share them with you before the holidays, but time seemed to flit into oblivion faster than I could fire up my camera. And since I felt a bit silly posting a traditional holiday cookie onto this little space after the fact, I abandoned every molecule of school girl giddiness I had pent up inside me at the mere thought of bringing these playful cookies to you.
That is until one morning last week.
I woke up to a furry of frozen rain droplets blanketing the vast sea of concrete outside my window. The hamster wheel started churning inside my head and I thought, “Eureka! Snow day!”
Why should these beauties live a sheltered life, only making their much anticipated appearance solely during the holidays? They deserve to shine every day that your taste buds scream for a buttery melt-in-your mouth cookie, but especially on snow days where all you want to do is cozy on up to a warm and fuzzy blanket and soothe the soul with a cascade of edible treats.
So I grabbed the butter out of the fridge, allowing it to hang out for a bit at room temperature, chopped whatever nuts I had in the house, and dragged my heavy Kitchen-aid mixer across the cold granite countertops and made yet another batch of these beauties. And boy was I glad I did, because they are far too cute to keep neatly tucked away until the next season of good tidings.
As I was rolling the nutty dough into balls, I couldn’t help but recall those cold, wintery days growing up a few blocks away from Lake Erie. Winters could be harsh there and lake effect snow regularly enveloped the city in a cloak of fluffy white powder.
There was ice skating at the park two blocks away. And giant mugs of hot cocoa to warm the soul after a vigorous afternoon of shoveling pile after pile of snow. Of course, a winter would not go by without a stoic snowman being built in the front yard so that it could wave to all passerbys.
But it is kind of funny that the memories that stick with you the most are those that often seemed a bit tramatic when they ensued.
I was quite the popular girl back in the day, capturing the adoration of what seemed like every little third grade boy in my class. And while today I think it would be incredibly flattering to have the power to cast your intoxicating spell on all those around you, this was back in the day when boys had cooties and this adoration was an unwanted gesture.
Of course, mom saw it differently. So when these gangs of little cootie infested rug rats would come ambling up the front porch and brusquely knock on the front door, mom thought good manners dictated that I hike my fuzzy rimmed boots up and bundle up in my down filled jacket and woolen hat, scarf and mittens and play cordial host to said cootie infested rug rats.
As I mentioned earlier, these were third grade boys. So they did not come with flowers and boxes of chocolates in tow in an attempt to win me over. Oh no. . . such acts of courtship were not part of their “dating” repertoire yet. Instead, they showed their affections in a far more appropriate manner. . .well at least in the eyes of a third grade boy. . .by pelting the object of their desire with a rapid succession of ice encrusted snow balls. I tried to escape the assault. But no matter what I did, snowball after snowball chased my every move.
Needless to say, I did not find their flirtatious advances charming and I ran back into the house. Perhaps if those third grade boys would have pelted me with these pepperminty snowball cookies, the outcome would have been far different.
These Polar Bear Pawprint Snowball Cookies, start with one of my all time favorite holiday cookies, Snowball Cookies.
It’s a heavenly buttery cookie that practically melts in your mouth. I added walnuts or pistachios, depending on the batch, to my Snowball Cookies to give them a nice, nutty taste. I also like to toast my nuts to really bring out their flavor. . . but you can skip this step if you so chose.
I then rolled the baked cookies in a dusting of confectioners sugar. If you are going to make the polar bear paw prints, I suggest only rolling the bottom half of the cookie in confectioners sugar as it will make it more difficult to get the white chocolate to adhere to the cookie. The Snowball Cookies are then dipped in a creamy white chocolate which will act as the “glue” to hold onto the chocolate chips & coconut. Dark chocolate chips are used in a very artistic fashion (you Picasso, you) to make the cutest little, edible paw prints you ever did see. For the final touch, I sprinkled some unsweetened coconut on these Snowball Cookies so that it would resemble the fur of the most cuddle of polar bears (Warning: polar bears are not that cuddly. You put your life into risk if you do choose to cuddle with a polar bear).
And that’s it. I think these Polar Bear Pawprint Snowball Cookies are the perfect little treat for parties and would make a fun, little project for the kiddos on snow days.
XOXO – Lynn
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- 2 cups nuts, toasted (e.g. walnuts or pistachios)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup confectioners sugar, + 1-2 cups for dusting
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- 10 ounces white chocolate chips
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 40 large chocolate chips
- 200 mini chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Bake nuts for about 10 minutes or until fragrant & toasted. Allow to cool completely.
Pulse in a food processor until finely ground into a coarse meal.
In a medium sized bowl, mix ground nuts, flour, & salt until combined.
Beat the softened butter on low in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until softened.
Stop the mixer & scrape the butter off the paddle attachment & sides of the bowl.
Add the confectioners sugar. Beat on low until light & fluffy.
Scrape down the paddle attachment & sides of the bowl, then add the vanilla & peppermint extract & mix on low until just combined.
Stop the mixer & add the flour in three separate increments, mixing on low just until combined. Be sure to scrape down the paddle attachment & sides of the bowl in between each addition.
Roll 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball & place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Space balls 2 inches apart.
Bake for about 15 minutes until the balls are set & have golden bottoms.
Allow to cool on tray for about 3 - 5 minutes.
While still warm, roll the cookies in powdered sugar. Note: If you want to make the polar bear paw prints, I recommend that you only coat the bottom in powdered sugar as it will make it difficult to get the chocolate to adhere to the cookie.
Allow the cookie to cool completely.
Meanwhile, if desired, cut the pointed tops off of the chocolate chips. Alternatively, you could apply the chocolate chips with the pointed tops facing up.
To melt the white chocolate in the microwave: Place the chocolate in a small microwaveable bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring vigorously in between. For small amounts, I found I only needed to microwave 2-3 times. You will want to take care not to overcook as white chocolate is notoriously easily to burn. Note: If you are making these by yourself, I recommend melting the chocolate in small increments (enough to coat 5-6 cookies). I found the chocolate was setting too fast if I did tried to make more than 5-6 at a time.
To melt the white chocolate using bain marie: Place a wide skillet with about one inch of water on a burner. Place your chocolate in a heatproof bowl, and set the bowl directly in the water. Bring the water to a simmer, then turn off the stove and let the chocolate sit until it is melted.
Dip the tops of the cookies into the white chocolate. Use a knife to spread it out evenly.
Continuing to work on the top of the cookie, arranged the chocolate chips to resemble an animal paw print by placing 1 large chocolate chip on the bottom half of the circle and 4 mini chocolate chips on the top half.
Sprinkle coconut on top taking care to not completely cover the chocolate chips.
Allow the cookies to sit until the chocolate is set.
Store the cookies in an airtight container.
Note: I used THESE large chocolate chips and THESE mini chocolate chips.