Queenie Cooks: Snowballs!

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: December 22, 2019 | 7:00 p.m.

There’s something so fresh and clean and promising about an untouched field of snow that I always find myself dreaming of a White Christmas this time of year.  Well, you may not be able to whip up a field of real of snow, but with today’s recipe you can make, serve, and munch out on some delectable Pineapple-Pecan-Coconut Snowballs almost as quickly as you can say “Jack Frost!”  And except for chilling time, the actual preparation takes less than fifteen minutes – no baking – which makes them perfect for a last-minute holiday treat or for some fun in the kitchen with your favorite little people.

These sweet treats are pretty hard to categorize, as they’re not candy, but they’re not cookies, either.  Frankly, I just call them delicious!  And with a few simple tips, you can make them turn out “just right” every time.  

First, always always always start with softened cream cheese – at least room temperature.  Otherwise, when you mix in your other ingredients it just won’t blend well and you’ll end up with little blobs of cream cheese blobs throughout.  I actually take mine out of the fridge a couple of hours – or even overnight – before I intend to use it.  However, if, like me, you often don’t know what you’re going to make until the last minute, you can speed things up by unwrapping and warming it for five seconds at a time in your microwave. Just make sure to remove it from the aluminum wrapper first, and be very careful to get it slightly soft, but NOT warm. Because you’d have to ask a chemist what happens when it melts,  but trust me – it’s not a good thing for this recipe.

Another important tip is to drain your crushed pineapple very well drained.  I squeeze the pulp down in the strainer or colander a bit over a large bowl to make absolutely sure that it’s not still “juicy” when I add it to the rest.  Otherwise, you can easily end up with soft, gooey, misshapen lumps instead of pretty, round, appetizing snowballs.

When you chop your pecans, make sure they stay in nice little chunks that you can bite into.  The idea with these snowballs is that, while they require very few ingredients, you want to make sure that you can enjoy each part of the delicious blend of flavors and textures of all the ingredients.  So I strongly recommend that you not put the pecans in the food processor; if you do, you’re likely to come out with pecan meal rather than little chunks.  Just chop them up coarsely and you’re good to go. 

Cool to the taste – and the eye – they have just the right amount of sweetness and nutty goodness. And making them is a snap!

As for the last ingredient – yes, these are a four-ingredient only treat! – do not use finely grated “old-fashioned pie” coconut to make your snowballs.  It’s more dry, the taste is not nearly as fresh, and you definitely won’t get the pretty, lacy look that the sweetened, flaked coconut provides.   You don’t have to use Angel Flake brand coconut, but you do want that size and consistency.  

And whatever you do, no matter how great the temptation, don’t skip the refrigeration step. Without that, they might still taste… ok.  But if you’re going to make something this special – and call them snowballs – don’t you want  nice, consistently round balls of deliciousness that LOOK “good enough to eat” as well?  Trust me, if they’re still soft from insufficient cooling, they’ll squish down into irregular lumps when you get ready to roll them in the coconut.  

They make a beautiful presentation in most any sort of dish, but I think it adds extra fun to use whimsical Christmas dishes this time of year.   However, I’ve served these as part of a light summer luncheon and they were a big hit there as well.  And think how gorgeous your Pineapple Pecan Coconut Snowballs would be served on a favorite platter along with assorted  fudges or cookies other any of your family’s favorite treats for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve or even during a football marathon!  And, honestly, you could arrange them on a crystal or silver dish and serve them at a formal soiree as well.

As an added bonus, since the only sugar in this recipe is just what’s already in the crushed pineapple or on the coconut, these little beauties won’t ruin the dinner of any little ones who might want “just a taste” after helping to roll them out. That’s right!  These snowballs are so simple to make that a child literally could do it – or most of it. And especially as rare as a real white Christmas is around here, sharing the making of these snowballs can be a special shared time with your favorite little ones. 

So it’s just as simple as that!  With four common ingredients and about 15 minutes (plus chill time) you can whip up a  perfect last-minute snack or dessert that might just become your family’s new favorite holiday treat! I guarantee they’ll be a hit with anyone who happens to pop in over the holidays.   And who knows?  If you leave out a plate full for Santa, he might just be extra good to you this year.  Enjoy!

Got questions? Just email smilinatyanow@aol.com any time and let’s talk about fun with food. Merry Christmas!  


  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, very well drained
  • 1 cup chopped pecans 
  • 3 cups flaked coconut. 

1 – In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and pineapple until combined.  

2 – Fold in pecans.

3 – Cover & refrigerate for 1 hour. 

4 – Roll mixture into 1” balls. 

5 – Roll balls in coconut to fully coat.

Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Yield: about 2 dozen.

NOTE: I often make smaller balls, as these are fairly rich, which will yield considerably more than two dozen.

 Copyright 2019 by Womack Publishing
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