The weather has officially turned cold here! Yesterday it was in the 30s and it seems it will be staying that way. I am not a huge fan of cold weather, but I do enjoy cold and snow up until Christmas. After making these and experiencing some cold weather, I’m finally in the Christmas mood! I did get around to buying some presents and feel like I am really on a roll now.
I tend to associate Mexican Wedding Cookies with Christmas. I guess because that is the only time I’ve ever had them. My grandma always makes a ton of cookies, candies, and cake at Christmas time, and I know we have had these many times. I’ve always really liked them, so I decided I should put them on my Christmas baking list this year.
If you’ve never had Mexican Wedding Cookies, they are a shortbread-like butter cookies (you might have also heard them referred to as a Russian Tea Cake, among many other names). After seeing the short list of ingredients in these cookies, I was determined that there had to be some type of trick to these. These fancy cookies couldn’t really be that easy, could they? Well, they really are that easy.
A couple things I did learn after doing some research, two key ingredients can really take these cookies from being ‘good’ to ‘really good’. If you’re able, try to use a high quality butter. In the States, butter is graded according to flavor, color, texture, aroma and body. The easiest way to tell the grade of butter, is by looking for the letter code on the package, with AA being the highest grade, followed by A and B.
Another key ingredient is the vanilla. You want to look for a ‘pure’ vanilla extract. There are plenty of quality brands that can be found in most local grocery stores that are pure vanilla extracts. Just try to stay away from anything labeled “imitation”.
Do you have any new items that you’ve added to your holiday baking list this year?
Mexican Wedding Cookies
Yield: About 24 cookies, depending on size
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
Make the cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick baking mats.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, 1/2 of the powdered sugar, and the vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add the flour and pecans, beating after each addition until well blended.
Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheets. Bake for 14-15 minutes, or until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned. Leave the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Sift the remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar over the warm cookies (turning to ensure all sides are covered) and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.
Recipe adapted from Kraft Recipes