Everyone has that one favorite cookie recipe that just reminds them of Christmas as a kid.
We made so many Christmas cookies in my family when I was growing up - those Hershey’s peanut butter blossoms, sugar cookies, cutout cookies that we decorated like snowmen, coconut macaroons, and I could really keep going.
But, my absolute favorite Christmas cookie recipe were snowball cookies. So buttery and sweet, and they used rice krispies that gave them a little crunch. I seriously would make entire batches just for myself to eat.
Here’s the actual, handwritten recipe that my mom and I would follow every year. She actually wrote this out with her mom when she was a kid - it’s a good recipe, folks!
This year, I decided that I wanted to recreate this Christmas tradition to fit into my current gut healing lifestyle (one that definitely does not include white sugar and rice krispies).
Figuring out Paleo alternatives for all the original ingredients actually wasn’t too hard. Here’s what I did:
White Sugar Replacement
I had to test a few different Paleo sweeteners before I found the winner. I originally tried coconut sugar, since I figured it would behave most similarly to white sugar, but I was very wrong. I needed something sticky that would help hold the cookie together. I went through honey and molasses before I settled on maple syrup as the clear favorite (my husband is a great cookie taste tester).
The dates were the one part of the original recipe that didn’t need Paleo modifications. Go, dates, go!
The thing I remember most about these cookies is that they were so buttery. Of course, I didn’t want to use butter in my Paleo version, so I opted for coconut butter and I was not disappointed. Coconut butter still gives the cookies that amazingly rich buttery flavor, but actually helps hold the cookies together better than the original recipe since coconut butter is still solid at room temperature.
Although eggs are Paleo, I wanted my AIP friends to be able to enjoy this recipe too - and by using my egg alternative these cookies pack a little gut healing power. I decided to go with Vital Proteins Gelatin in place of the egg. When cooled, gelatin acts as a binder, just as the egg would.
Rice Krispie Replacement
In place of the rice krispies I decided to use both unsweetened shredded coconut and chopped pecans (although for an AIP version you can just replace the nuts with more coconut). These ingredients help give the cookies some substance and add a nice crunch.
Powdered Sugar Replacement
The original recipe has you rolling the balls in powdered sugar (which, not going to lie, was the best part of the whole cookie for me when I was younger). But for my Paleo version I decided to get a little creative. Really, you can roll these guys in anything, but I ended up using cacao, cinnamon, and hemp seeds just for some variety. The different ingredients here give the cookies a nice variety, and really changes up the flavor quite nicely. (You could also totally roll them in matcha powder for a super festive green version)
It definitely took me a few tries to perfect this recipe, but my husband/chief taste tester was not upset. He says these are some of the best cookies he’s ever had, and he doesn’t eat Paleo, so I take that as a huge compliment.
I hope you love these No-Bake Paleo Snowball Cookies just as much. They definitely bring me back to my childhood Christmas cookie days, and I am so happy that I was able to bring this old, favorite recipe back into my life.
No-Bake Paleo Snowball Cookies
- 3/4 cups Maple Syrup
- 8 Pitted Dates, chopped
- 1 cup Coconut Butter (I like this brand)
- 1 tsp Vital Proteins Gelatin
- 2 cups Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
- 3/4 cups Pecans, chopped (for AIP can substitute more shredded coconut)
- Rolling Ingredients (Cacao, Cinnamon, Hemp Seeds, or anything your heart desires)
- In a small saucepan, heat the maple syrup, chopped dates, coconut butter, and gelatin over low heat until melted and combined.
- Remove from heat and add in shredded coconut and chopped pecans.
- Mix all ingredients together.
- Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, or until cool (but not too long or the coconut butter will solidify).
- Form into 1” balls and roll in cacao, cinnamon, hemp seeds (or your choice).
- Eat them all immediately, or store in refrigerator.
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