Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexian Wedding cookies croppedMy mother was not much of a baker (maybe that’s where I learned to proclaim that I am not a baker), but she did make one type of cookie – the Mexican Wedding cookie, and it’s been one of my favorite holiday cookies ever since. This cookie is known by many names and versions exist in many different cultures (Butter Pecan Cookies, Russian Teacakes, Italian Butter Nut Cookies, Southern Pecan Butterball, Snowdrop Cookies, Snowball Cookies, Swedish Teacakes, Viennese Sugar Balls). If they were descriptively named, they would probably be called pecan butter cookies – those are the two key ingredients. They are not a particularly sweet cookie, but they certainly are indulgent. This year my former boyfriend’s mother hired me to bake her 8 dozen of these cookies to take to a cookie exchange (whoever came up with the idea of the cookie exchange is a genius – it’s easy to make 8 dozen of the same cookie, but really challenging to make 8 dozen different cookies). I use pecans in my cookies, but some recipes call for walnuts or almonds, or even a combination of nuts. Some recipes have you shape the cookies into a crescent shape (I think this is the Italian version), but I just shape them like balls – flattened a bit on the underside. I am generous with the powdered sugar coating, I usually coat the cookies while they’re hot so the sugar gets absorbed, but I re-dust them after they’ve cooled. I do think of these cookies as a holiday cookie – something about the powdered sugar makes them look festive and snow covered, but they are a treat anytime of year. This recipe is super easy to follow and the cookies are pretty much foolproof.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for coating and dusting baked cookies
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped into very small pieces
INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Line cookies sheets with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar at low speed until it is smooth. Beat in the vanilla. Continue with mixer at  low speed, and gradually add the flour. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, mix in the pecans by hand. Mexican wedding cookie doughRoll about  1 heaping tablespoon of dough into a ball and place onto prepared cookie sheets. (If dough is sticking to your hands, coat your hands in powdered sugar). Set cookies about 1.5 inches apart. Bake for 40 minutes – bottoms will NOT be browned. Mexian Wedding cookies in ovenIn the meantime, add powdered sugar to a small bowl. Immediately after removing from oven, roll each cookie in additional confectioners’ sugar. roll cookies in powdered sugarCool on wire racks. If desired, dust with additional powdered sugar after cookies have cooled. Mexian Wedding cookies

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