Grandma’s Powdered Sugar Death Balls

By DARRIAN HAYNIE for the Flathead Beacon

Darrian Haynie | Courtesy Photo

I’m always disappointed this time of year to say goodbye to all the Christmas cookies. This recipe is for a cookie my family enjoys all year round, so I wanted to share it with you.

Most people know these delicious little cookies as Mexican wedding cakes; though, in my family, they have become affectionately known as grandma’s powdered sugar death balls.

They earned the name because the combination of powdered sugar and the cookies’ unique consistency has a tendency to get stuck to the roof of your mouth, calling for large quantities of milk (which is a great pairing for these treats).

This recipe has been in my family for as long as I can remember. My grandmother has the magic touch when it comes to making these cookies.

Hers are always so delicious – every time I eat them I am surprised by the explosion of flavor from such a simple cookie.

The buttery, crumbly cookies get rolled in powder sugar while still warm, which melts around the cookie and takes you on a ride to a powdered-sugary wonderland.

I recently tried my hand at this recipe for the first time, and they turned out great! I will always keep this recipe as a staple in my family, and I hope someday my kids will learn how to make them and enjoy them as much as I do.

If you haven’t tried these cookies, I definitely encourage you to try baking these crowd pleasers.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cups finely chopped walnuts


Mix butter, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until fluffy.

Add flour and walnuts and mix well to form dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll dough into 1 to 1 1/2” balls and place on baking sheet.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned.

Remove cookies from oven and, while still warm, roll in remaining powdered sugar.

Yield: 24 cookies