Scottish Snowballs

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Traditional recipe for proper Scottish Snowballs. Delicious little buns, sandwiched with jam, and coated in icing & coconut.

Scottish Snowballs recipe from Baking with Granny. Delightful little cakes, sandwiched with jam and rolled in coconut.

We have a few recipes that Granny is determined to share here on Baking with Granny (and a few I keep pestering her to give me too!). One that she has been wanting to rework, update and perfect before sharing is…Scottish Snowballs.

Now, when Granny first starting telling me about snowballs, I was convinced she was talking about the chocolate & coconut covered marshmallow snowballs made by Tunnocks. Which are amazing in their own right, let’s be honest! But no, Granny was talking about the little snowball buns she used to make in the bakery over 3 decades ago.

These Scottish Snowballs are an entirely different treat, which are just as delicious. One that Granny remembers fondly, both making in the bakery and seeing many customers enjoy too. And when I shared a sneak-peak of these on Instagram, I was surprised and pleased to see just how many people knew what they were and have since been patiently awaiting this recipe being published!

Scottish Snowballs recipe from Baking with Granny. Little buns, filled with jam and rolled in coconut. Traditional recipe from Scotland

What are Scottish Snowballs?

Scottish Snowballs aren’t quite cakes and they certainly aren’t biscuits. The closest comparison I can think for the buns that make up the majority of your snowballs is something like a Scone, or a Paris Bun. Sweet, but not overly so; with a good bit of rise, without being too soft and airy; sturdy enough that they hold their own, whilst still being soft enough to bite into with ease.

Granny advises filling Snowballs with jam, even though this isn’t what she used to do in the bakery. Back then, they’d use some of the icing that coats your snowball to secure the two halves together, before dipping the entire thing in the coconut. However, Granny says she prefers them with jam and I’m inclined to agree. Your call if you opt for strawberry jam or raspberry jam though.

Finally the snowballs are dipped in a sweet icing before rolled in desiccated coconut, giving them the “snowball” appearance.

What are Scottish Snowballs? How to make Scottish Snowballs? UK recipe from Baking with Granny.

Ingredients:

Self-raising Flour
The main part of our snowballs is a bun-like ball, made up of two halves. Because we want a nice semi-sphere shape (which will be stuck together), we need a bit of rise. Self-raising flour is the perfect base to allow this.

Baking Powder
We already have the raising-agents in the self-raising flour but we add just a smidgen more with some baking powder, just to give the buns a little more lift.

Caster Sugar
The main flavours in our snowballs come from the jam and coconut coating but we still want some sweetness in the bun to compliment these flavours. Caster sugar is ideal but in a pinch some granulated sugar could work too but may give your buns a slightly grainier texture.

Salt
A little bit of salt is added to your bun dough, to help balance out the sweetness. The quantity listed in the recipe is reflective of using a typical table salt – if you use something like sea salt, this could alter the taste slightly.

Butter or Margarine
Either will do and it’s personal preference to which you choose. I opt for margarine as a way to omit the dairy but whatever you choose, have it at room temperature before baking. And if using margarine. just be sure to use a block margarine, as opposed to the spreadable kind. The latter will make your Scottish Snowballs dough too soft.

Free-range Egg & Yolk
Granny spent a lot of time experimenting to get the perfect egg ratio for Snowballs. In the end, she found one whole egg and one extra egg yolk to be just right. Don’t just bin that excess egg white though – save it make some homemade meringues.

Milk
In this recipe, milk is needed to add a little more moisture to the snowball buns. It’s personal preference as to what kind of milk you use – dairy, soya and coconut are all great options.

Jam
Technically this can be optional if you’re not a fan of jam – simply switch it out for a little extra icing, like how Granny used to make Scottish Snowballs in the bakery. But in my opinion, a spreading of strawberry or raspberry jam really adds an extra – much-appreciated – level of flavour. The choice of jam flavour is yours. Strawberry or raspberry are the obvious choices but if apricot or blackcurrant are more your thing, try experimenting!

Icing Sugar
It’s a simple water icing that is used to coat your snowballs in preparation for their coconut finish. And because we are making an icing, icing sugar (also known as confectioners sugar or powdered sugar) is a must.

Desiccated Coconut
The “snow” behind our snowballs! The recipe states 60-70 grams of coconut, this is simply because some desiccated coconuts are finer than others. Not a fan of coconut? Then I’d generally say this isn’t the recipe for you. You could of course experiment with other ingredients, like ground almonds, or crushed cereals, but none other than coconut will truly make a Scottish Snowball.

Scottish Snowballs recipe. Little buns, filled with jam and covered in coconut.

Granny's Top Tips

• If you want your snowballs to be a uniform size, you can weigh all your dough before rolling into balls; divide the total number by 20, then weigh out each ball to this individual weight.

• Spread your jam once your snowballs are cool enough to touch but still warm. Like our Empire Biscuits, by adding the jam while the buns are warm, it acts like a glue as they cool; adding the jam when the buns have already cooled will mean they continue to slip around – not what you want when it comes to the icing and coconut!

• Having a 12-hole muffin tin handy is a great idea. Once you have jammed your snowball buns, you can place them in here to continue cooling and setting. And once you have iced & coconut-coated your snowballs, you can place them back in there to set too. This saves them rolling about on a plates & sticking together, and it keeps any excess mess contained too.

• Coating your snowballs in the icing and coconut can be a messy job. If you can recruit an extra pair of hands, this will help – with one doing icing and another doing coconut. You can use spoons or forks if you are concerned about getting your hands dirty, we find this over-complicates things and it’s far easier to get right in with your [clean] fingers!

Scottish Snowballs recipe. Little buns, sandwiched with jam, covered in icing, coated in coconut.

Love this? Try this:

Scottish Snowballs recipe from Baking with Granny. Delightful little cakes, sandwiched with jam and rolled in coconut.

Scottish Snowballs

Traditional recipe for proper Scottish Snowballs. Delicious little buns, sandwiched with jam, and coated in icing & coconut.
4.85 from 13 votes
PRINT RECIPE
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Scottish
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 10

Ingredients

To decorate

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven your oven to 200°c (180°c for fan assisted ovens or Gas Mark 6) and lightly grease a couple of baking sheets with some excess butter/margarine. Set aside.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter/margarine and rub with your finger tips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir through the sugar.
  • In a small bowl or mug, beat the eggs & milk together. Add to the dry ingredients, mix until combined and you have a soft dough (you may need to use your hands).
  • Turn your dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until it is smooth. Divide your dough into 20 even-sized balls, placing them onto your prepared baking sheets, with a bit of space between each.
  • Bake in your pre-heated oven or 12-15 minutes, until they are risen and a light golden colour. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little on the baking sheets.
  • Once cool enough to touch but still warm, spread a little bit of jam (about half a teaspoon) onto the flat side of half the snowball buns, before sandwiching the other halves to them. Place them into an empty muffin tin to stop them sliding apart whilst they continue to cool and the jam sets.

To decorate

  • Once you snowball buns have cooled and the jam has set, you can prepare your icing. In a small but relatively deep bowl, mix your icing sugar with 2-3 tablespoons of water, until you have a thin consistency. Decant your coconut into a similar (but different) bowl and keep it close by.
  • Start by rolling your buns in the icing, until completely coated. Hold your snowball bun above the icing and allow the excess to drip off, before transferring straight into the coconut. Roll your now-iced snowball bun in coconut until it is completely coated. Transfer to your muffin tin and repeat with the other snowballs, until they are all coated in icing and coconut.
  • Allow your snowballs to set for an hour or so before enjoying.

Notes

  • For full explanations of each ingredient - including possible substitutions - see the Ingredients section above.
  • If you want your snowballs to be a uniform size, you can weigh your total dough before rolling them into balls; divide the total number by 20, then weigh out each ball to this individual weight.
  • Coating your snowballs in icing and coconut can be a messy job. If you can recruit an extra pair of hands, this will help. You can use spoons or forks if you are concerned about getting your hands dirty, but I find this over-complicates things and it's far easier to get right in with your fingers!
  • For more tips for success, see Granny's Top Tips section above.
  • Scottish Snowballs will last a few days after baking when kept in an airtight container.
Tried this recipe?Tag @bakingwithgranny or use the hashtag #bakingwithgranny!
Scottish Snowballs recipe from Baking with Granny. Delightful little cakes, sandwiched with jam and rolled in coconut.

13 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    Made these twice went down a treat husband says they are better than shop,reminds me when i was little and we lived in paisley i used to get 1 out of the bakers going to school

  2. 5 stars
    We always used to get these from bakeries on the way home from school, you just had to be sure you’d brushed off the coconut before you went into the house otherwise you’d get into bother for eating sweet things before your tea/ dinner.

  3. 5 stars
    We used to have these in Northern Ireland when I was 3 I’m 66 now ! Back in NI again and in a home home bakery this morning. What memories. Mark

  4. 5 stars
    Delicious! Second time making these and both times they’ve reminded me of when my gran used to make them every Wednesday for us. A real treat…thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    Made them and tasted great.but in the method it didn’t say anything about the sugar.but added it when it got to the bread crumbs stage.

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Hello, I’m Amy, the voice-behind and creator-of Baking with Granny.

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