Coconut Snowball Melting Moments

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bite sized snowball cookies

Coconut Snowball Melting Moments are buttery little bites of coconut bliss ~ perfect for the holidays, or any day. These easy shortbread cookies literally melt in your mouth.

Photo of coconut snowball melting moments on a glass tray.

These are a variation on my mom’s traditional Melting Moments. I thought it would be fun to give them a coconut makeover. I love how they look like little snowballs, and they really do melt in your mouth. In fact, that’s why melting moments are made so small, if you try to bite into one, it will fall apart in your hands…best to pop them straight into your mouth whole.

Photo of coconut snowball melting moments on a baking sheet.

As December rolls on, my recipes get simpler and simpler. We don’t have the luxury of a long stretch of days in front of us before Christmas anymore. It’s (gulp) next week. No worries, though, this is one you can whip up in your sleep, it’s an old fashioned drop cookie with no pretensions to being fancy or fussy. A variation of this cookie is always on our counter during Christmas week. Because they are small and rich, they work really well after dinner with coffee or brandy, but there isn’t a neighbor on the planet who’d turn down a paper plate full of these little guys, either, so you’re covered on all fronts.

Overhead photo of coconut snowball melting moments on a baking rack.

I used coconut extract to bring out the coconut flavor in these cookies… I’m a big believer in how extracts can help flavors bloom. It’s kind of like using salt, you don’t know it’s there, but it makes everything pop. Pure coconut extract (not flavoring, which is artificial) can sometimes be hard to find, but I  have a recipe for a Homemade Coconut Extract. You can always find it online, too.

Close up photo of a coconut snowball melting moment on a baking rack.

notes ~

  • These cookies freeze well, just be sure to wrap them well.
  • As a variation you can leave the coconut out of the dough, for a smoother cookie.
  • Try my Cappuccino Melting Moments for a variation with a hint of caffeine!
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3.77 from 17 votes

Coconut Snowball Melting Moments

Course cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Author Sue Moran



  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp coconut extract or vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut


  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • milk or cream for thinning
  • more shredded coconut for garnish


  • set oven to 350F
  • To make the cookies, cream the butter and then beat in the extract, sugar, flour and cornstarch until everything is blended. Blend in the coconut.
  • Form the dough into a ball or a disk and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for an hour.
  • Use a small 1" cookie scoop to form balls of dough and place then on an ungreased cookie sheet, 1 inch apart. Bake for 14 minutes, or until the cookies are just starting to get a little brown around the bottom edge. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Then gently transfer to a cooling rack. the cookies are delicate, so go easy on them.
  • When the cookies are completely cool, dab a little bit of frosting on top of each one, and top with coconut.
  • To make the frosting, cream the butter and then blend in the extract and the sugar, adding enough cream or milk to make a creamy spreadable frosting.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Don’t forget to pin these Coconut Snowball Melting Moments!

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    July 21, 2020 at 7:49 am

    Would you please post the ingredients in metric? That would be helpful.?

  • Reply
    March 23, 2020 at 9:37 am

    I came across this recipe on your site after seeing your pineapple coconut bar recipe today. I want another coconut sweet treat and these cookies look yummy. Can they be made less sweet without the frosting, just the cookie?

  • Reply
    Marianne Mitchell
    December 10, 2019 at 2:22 am

    4 stars
    Hi Sue,

    I have been making these cookies the last few years and I LOVE them! My only question is how to keep them in the adorable little ball shape you have them in and not “melting flat”! I keep the dough cold, I trade out trays so it isn’t warm….any thoughts? HOW DO YOU DO IT?! (they still taste wonderful flat!)

  • Reply
    December 3, 2019 at 10:30 am

    Can the unsalted butter be substituted with regular butter? I don’t usually have unsalted butter but want to try these cookies.

    • Reply
      December 3, 2019 at 11:51 am

      Yes, but you will get a slight salt flavor.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    I know this post is a few year old, but can I just say how happy I am to find this recipe! I love coconut and so does my family. I couldn’t resist but I drizzled just a little bit of chocolate sauce over the tops of them. Omg! Amazing! Thanks for the lovely recipe!

    • Reply
      December 17, 2018 at 3:54 pm

      Thanks Vicky, I’m so glad you discovered these, and the chocolate drizzle sounds amazing, why didn’t I think of that??

  • Reply
    December 11, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Hi! These look amazing! I want to make them big I’ve never seen that much cornstarch in a recipe before? Can I reduce that a bit?

    • Reply
      December 11, 2018 at 9:29 am

      You can, just replace it with flour. But do use some cornstarch, it gives these cookies their special texture.

  • Reply
    Vickie Danley
    January 30, 2018 at 9:38 am

    I just made these and can’t tell you how much I ADORE THEM. For me it can’t get any better than shortbread AND coconut together. Yesterday I had an epic fail with a recipe for Empire Cookies, so this was a much needed win. Thank you for a great recipe :). I would love to see your version of an Empire Cookie…….

    • Reply
      January 30, 2018 at 9:43 am

      First of all, thanks so much for coming back to let me know that you loved these, that makes me so happy, and second, I must have been living under a rock, I’ve never heard of an Empire Cookie, I’m off to google it!

      • Reply
        January 30, 2018 at 9:45 am

        ok, just googled it and they look delicious, I’m on it Vickie!

  • Reply
    April 14, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    I just made these delicious little cookies, added some pastel color coconut for the Easter holiday! Easy and delicious!

    • Reply
      April 14, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      Great idea, I never thought to color the coconut!

    • Reply
      Vickie Danley
      February 6, 2018 at 5:02 am

      Can’t wait!!!

  • Reply
    January 3, 2015 at 9:14 am

    I adore coconut and have 2 kinds of organic coconut on subscription through Amazon! Just think I’ll have to use some of that coconut to make these awesome melting moments! Yum!!

    • Reply
      January 3, 2015 at 9:19 am

      Really? Is it sweetened, shredded? I need to look into that, I love coconut too but I always just buy it at the supermarket 🙂

      • Reply
        Vickie Danley
        February 6, 2018 at 5:05 am

        Oops, that was a “can’t wait” for the Empire Cookies 😉

  • Reply
    December 29, 2014 at 6:16 am

    sue! i had lost you from my reader! i’m so glad you left a comment so i could re-add you! these cookies are extraordinary and would no doubt be in my top 10. coconut rules.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    December 21, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    I love these little cookies so much! I’ll take 3 dozen, please!! 😉

  • Reply
    December 19, 2014 at 5:43 am

    These sound amazing, Sue! I’ve had your melting moments on my list to try for a while now. How do I choose???

  • Reply
    [email protected]+Riffs
    December 17, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    I love coconut! One of my favorite flavors in sweets. These looks wonderful — lovely looks, and I’ll bet the flavor is terrific. Thanks, and I hope your holidays are wonderful!

  • Reply
    Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious
    December 17, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Coconut ANYTHING for me, please!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Adorable cookies!!! They do look like yummy little snowballs!

  • Reply
    December 17, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Your Melting Moments look adorable in their coconut snow ‘caps’, Sue! I’m a big fan of coconut but I’ve never seen coconut extract. That doesn’t mean it’s not there – I just never though of looking for it. Great idea!

    • Reply
      December 17, 2014 at 10:12 am

      It is tough to find…I stock up on extracts during the holidays when the stores beef up their selection.

    • Reply
      Nancy Long
      August 20, 2016 at 3:44 am

      check the Savory Spice Shop – they’re my fave

  • Reply
    Dionne Baldwin
    December 16, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    I would be excited to try the recipe for coconut extract AND the cookies.

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    December 16, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    What a perfect holiday cookie, love that coconut frosting!

  • Reply
    Cate O'Malley
    December 16, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    These are too adorable not to make, printing now…

  • Reply
    Heather @ Sugar Dish Me
    December 16, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Adorable! I love tiny food and these totally look like tiny little snowballs!

  • Reply
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts
    December 16, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    I am all for getting easier and easier! I just realized I have to wrap everything by Friday before my son is done with school for the holiday break. Time just go seriously on the short side! These cookies are so perfect with the coconut on top!

    • Reply
      December 16, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      Darn those holidays breaks 😉 Good luck!

  • Reply
    December 16, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Love these itty bitty cookies!

  • Reply
    December 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    i have never called them melting moments. I love that name just love it and I love them. They are so dainty and beautiful and don’t forget delicious!

  • Reply
    [email protected]+press
    December 16, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    one week to go – SCARY!! LOVE these cookies and YES easy is good!!

    • Reply
      December 16, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Totally scary …

  • Reply
    Kare @ Kitchen Treaty
    December 16, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    These are the cutest cookies ever! Love how tiny and poppable they are.

    • Reply
      December 16, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      Poppable is a great word for them!

  • Reply
    Michelle @ The Complete Savorist
    December 16, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    These are utterly festive and just plain cute. I love their size. They look so fluffy.

    • Reply
      December 16, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      Thanks Michelle! You don’t see tiny cookies very often in our super-sized world!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    December 16, 2014 at 9:35 am

    I wish I could get a makeover that was this successful! These look wonderful and I still haven’t made the original recipe! So many gorgeous cookies, so little time! Another super successful wonderful cookie Sue! Thanks and Merry Christmas 🙂

    • Reply
      December 16, 2014 at 9:40 am

      Merry Christmas to you, too, Tricia. I’ll be secretly glad when the holidays are over, though, I’m in cookie overload here 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    December 16, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Love these Sue! Everything is better with coconut, I think 🙂

    • Reply
      December 16, 2014 at 9:15 am

      Agreed 🙂

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits
    December 16, 2014 at 8:06 am

    I’m a huge fan of coconut cookies, and these wouldn’t last long around here! Thanks for this recipe!!

    • Reply
      December 16, 2014 at 9:38 am

      Everybody needs at least one coconut cookie in their lineup!!

  • Reply
    December 16, 2014 at 6:26 am

    These look so delicious and festive! I’ll definitely be trying them for last minute gifts and parties

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