Little Snow People – Festive Cookie Dough

 These are one of my favorite cookies my mom makes for the holidays, and now I make them every year too.  My favorite part of the snowmen are the little cinnamon red hot buttons.  So cute and so delicious; a nice addition to any holiday cookie tray!


My mom found these in a Better Homes and Garden magazine in 1986 and has been making them ever since. This is a scan of my mom’s recipe; tattered and stained from so many years of use! The image above is full size, so if you save to your downloads you can view the original article.

We always make 36 snowmen, and use the dough left over to make chocolate chip crescents or chocolate chip snowballs (recipe below).

These always get rave reviews on cookie trays too, from kids and adults alike.


Festive Cookie Dough

Adapted, slightly from Better Homes and Gardens, November 1986
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup of butter, softened
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
2 cups of sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

In a medium bowl, stir together flour and baking powder.  Set aside.

In a standing mixer or large mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until well mixed.  Add sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add egg, vanilla and almond extract; beat well.  Slowly add flour to the creamed mixture in several additions, beating well after each addition.  Transfer dough to a glass bowl, cover and chill overnight in the refrigerator.


Little Snow People

makes 36, with remaining dough for other cookie options
If you aren’t fond of the red cinnamon candies you can use mini candy coated chocolate pieces.  
mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
red cinnamon candies
butter cream or stiff icing for decorating, dyed green and orange
milk chocolate kisses, halved 
chocolate covered peanut butter cups, halved

Remove dough from refrigerator.  Roll 36 1-inch balls, 36 3/4-inch balls, and 36 1/2-inch balls.  If the dough is a little hard to handle from being in the fridge, let it rest for 20 minutes to warm up a little.  Assemble snow people on ungreased cookie sheets, arranging the three different size balls in order from largest to smallest, with the sides touching.  Space at least 1-inch apart, as these do spread a little.  Decorate cookies with two mini chips on the small balls for eyes, one red hot on the middle ball, and two red hots on the large ball for buttons.  Bake in 325-degree oven for 18 minutes, or until the edges are firm and the bottoms are light golden brown.  Cool one minute on sheets and then remove to wire rack to fully cool.

Put green and orange icing in a decorating bag with a small circle tip; I used a Wilton No.3 tip. for both the green and orange frosting.  You won’t need a lot of orange frosting for the noses.  Decorate snow people with icing, making belts and scarves, and attach hats with a nice amount of green frosting on the kisses and peanut butter cups so the hats stay secure.  Pipe on carrot noses.  Let frosting on cookies dry, before packing into an airtight container.  We freeze them in our house, so I’m not certain how long they last unfrozen.

Chocolate Chip Snowballs

Use leftover dough remaining after 36 snow people cookies are made
1/3 to 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar 
To the remaining dough, add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips, and mix to evenly distribute.  Roll into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are just lightly brown.  Cool on sheets for one minute, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.  Toss with powdered sugar.  Store in airtight container; we freeze these as well.    


  1. Sandy Schleusener says

    Hi Heath! Love this site! Loved seeing this pic and wanted to tell you this is the first year I haven’t made these in a while and I heard about it from both girls, they really missed them! Back on the list for next year. Hope you had a great holiday.

  2. OC Koz says

    This is my favorite sugar cookie recipe and I made these snow people when the recipe came out in 1986. You did a great job of decorating the cookies! Thanks for the memories and I am bookmarking this site so I will always be able to find the recipe (I actually contacted BH&G in the 1990’s after I misplaced my recipe and they sent me a photocopy of the original by snail mail.)

  3. Jennifer Lowe says

    My mom also found this in 1986 and has made it ever since! I LOVE these cookies and they are so fun to decorate! Thank you for posting this and for posting the picture of the recipe. It looks a lot like the one I inherited form my mom. 🙂

  4. says

    Thanks for posting! Little Snow People have been a tradition in my family too since that issue of BH&G. This blog post saves my mom the trouble of copying out the recipe for me every year!

    • says

      I would say that they are more on the dry side. They aren’t super soft, but I don’t think they are quite as dry as Mexican wedding cookies either.

  5. Lena says

    I have been using this recipe since 1986. I make the crescent shape, bake, dip in chocolate and then dip in coconut, nuts, crushed candy..etc. Sometimes they are eaten before they have a chance to be dipped at all. : )

  6. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I made these every year when my kids were little…then I lost the recipe. My family will be so excited to enjoy them again!

  7. Denise says

    I had the pages from the magazine for little snow people, but was missing the page with the cookie dough recipe on . Thank you. The magazine also has recipes for crackled crescents and zig zag cookies using the same dough. so excited.

  8. Susan says

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! My mom used to make them for my siblings and I when we were little. Now that we are grown and have children of our own I wanted to make them but we lost the recipe. Can’t wait to make these with the children and keep this cookie tradition going! Thanks a ton!!

  9. Melanie says

    Thank you so much! I made these cookies for years & I too lost the recipe. Now that I have a grandson this will be fun to make again.

  10. Carly says

    Wow! We have been making these exact cookies every year since I was a little girl, and my mom definitely thought it was a secret recipe that no one else had held onto! We make the zig zag ones though…thanks for sharing!!

  11. Becca says

    OH MY GOSH!!!!!That is the exact same recipe that my mom found and uses!!!! I think her’s is just as tattered!!! I am definitely bookmarking this blog!!!! I am making the dough today and my boys and I will make the cookies tomorrow!

    Thanks so much for sharing this!!!!

  12. Victoria Rindosh says

    Thank God for the internet and for you Heather for posting this recipe!! My son who is 29 was telling his dad last week “I hope mom is going to make th e snowmen cookies.” Every year I’m on the net looking for this recipe, ever since I misplaced my 1986 magazine (same as your mom’s). I make them every year and the crescent. I now dip the top of the snowmen’s head in chocolate and paint with an artist’s brush chocolate tiny moustache and use the chocolate to paint scarves around their necks. I invert mini choc chips for the buttons. They look like little French men. Raising five children, time makes it a necessity to improvise. Everyone loves them. Thanks again for posting the original pages and saving me precious time. Happy baking!

  13. Helen Comba says

    I was so pleased to find this recipe still circulating! I make the festive cookie dough every year – but mostly make the Crackled Crescents! We love them! We always dip some in chocolate and then decorate with sprinkles. My husband loves them without the chocolate so a third of the cookies are plain, a third with just chocolate and a third decorated. Now that I am reminded that I have been making these cookies since 1986, I realize I have been making them for over 30 years!!

    Thank you for sharing!

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