Mexican Wedding Cookies are hard to resist because they are crumbly, buttery, and nutty. You can make these cookies with pecans, walnuts, almonds, or any other kind of nut.
Mexican Wedding cookies are just too good to pass up. I can’t help but grab them when I see them on a plate of cookies.
Mexican Wedding cookies are soft and melt in your mouth because the dough is made with a lot of butter and crushed nuts. The lack of eggs in these cookies makes them crumbly instead of chewy. They are more like shortbread than, say, sugar cookies because of this.
Those crushed nuts in the dough are another reason why these cookies taste so good. I’ve made these cookies with both crushed almonds and crushed walnuts, but I like them best with pecans.
Before you mix the dough, you should definitely take the extra step to toast the nuts. Even though it seems complicated, toasting the nuts really helps bring out their flavour and gives the cookies their best nutty taste.
Some people add spices to their Mexican Wedding cookies, but I’m a purist, so I made this batch without any spices. If you like to take risks, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Also good are nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves.
How about Mexican wedding cakes or Russian tea cakes?
By the way, I’ve never really understood the difference between Russian Tea Cakes and Mexican Wedding Cookies. It looks like most of the Internet is as well! When I look at different recipes in cookbooks and on the Internet, they all look pretty much the same. This makes me think that these cookies are mostly the same, even though they have different names.
Are Mexican Wedding Cakes Truly Made in Mexico?
This cookie has a long and complicated story behind it. Even though some Mexicans serve them at weddings and Christmas—one of our readers, Emma, said she grew up in Mexico and often had them at those times—these cookies are made in many different cultures.
Some food historians think that the cookies come from the ancient Middle East and that they may have been brought to parts of Europe by traders. This could explain why there are so many different versions of this cookie in so many different countries. They might have been brought to Mexico by Spanish conquistadors or other North American travelers.
Other Nuts You Can Use
Depending on the size of the nut you use instead of pecans in this recipe, the toasting time may be different. Watch them carefully as they toast. Also, there are so many cookies that are similar in different cultures that if you use walnuts, you’ll be making snowballs. If you use almonds, you’ll basically be making crescents made of almonds.
How to Fix Dry Dough
This dough is naturally stickier than doughs for sugar cookies or chocolate chip cookies. Even if the dough is crumbly, you can use it if you can press it into a ball and it stays together.
If the dough is too crumbly, try these suggestions.
- Start with butter that is between 68°F and 70°F, or at room temperature.
- Mix the dough a little longer with a stand mixer or a hand mixer.
- After putting the dough in the fridge, bring it back to room temperature.
- If the dough is still too crumbly, give it a quick flick of cool water and work it gently with your hands. Keep doing this until the dough stays together. You shouldn’t need more than about 2 tablespoons of water in the end.
How to put Mexican Wedding Cookies in the freezer for later use
- Freezing the dough: You can freeze the dough for the Mexican wedding cookies for up to one month. Make a big disc with the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in a freezer bag with a zip-top. Before making cookies, put the dough in the fridge to thaw. Then, bring it to room temperature.
- Freezing the dough in cookie-ready balls: You can also roll the dough into balls (don’t roll them in powdered sugar) and put them on a baking sheet in the freezer until they are just frozen through. Then, put them in a zip-top bag that can be put in the freezer. Put the frozen cookie dough balls in the fridge to thaw. When they are no longer frozen, roll them in powdered sugar and bake them.
- Freezing the baked cookies: Put the cookies in a freezer bag with a zipper and put them in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you take them out of the freezer, the powdered sugar may melt a little. We think you should take the cookies out of the bag and let them thaw on a wire rack. If you need to, sprinkle them with a little more powdered sugar.
For the dough for cookies:
- 1 cup (115g) pecan pieces
- 1 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature (225g or 2 sticks)
- 3/4 cup (85g) sieved powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 280 grams of all-purpose flour, or 2 cups
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
To roll cookies:
- 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar (145g)
A Recipe for Cookies
1. On the stove, toast the nuts:
Put the nuts in a medium skillet and turn the heat to medium. Toast the nuts, stirring them often, for about 5 minutes, or until they get a little darker and smell fragrant and nutty.
Take the pan off the burner and let the nuts cool in it.
2. Crunch the nuts:
When the nuts are warm to the touch but not hot, put them in a quart-size freezer bag that you can seal. Seal the bag, and then roll and crush the nuts with a rolling pin until you have a chunky powder. Put it away until you need it.
(You can also pulse it in a food processor until it looks like powder. If you process the nuts too much, they will turn into nut butter.
3. Combine the sugar and butter:
Put 3/4 cup of powdered sugar and the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until the sugar is absorbed into the butter and the buttery paste sticks to the side of the bowl. Add the vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds to make sure it’s all mixed in.
4. Add the salt and flour:
On low speed, mix. As soon as the dry ingredients start to mix in with the butter and sugar, you can turn the speed back up to medium. Stop the mixer once all the flour has been added and a dough has formed.
5. Add the smashed nuts:
Mix at a low speed to blend.
6. Refrigerate the dough:
Put the dough on a piece of plastic wrap and flatten it into a disc about 1 inch thick. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least an hour, or until it is firm.
7. Get the oven hot and get the baking sheets ready:
Set the oven to 350°F about 10 minutes before you’re ready to bake.
Put parchment paper or a silicon baking mat on the second baking sheet.
8. Make the cookies roll:
Put the 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar that will be used to coat the cookies in a shallow bowl. Take the dough out of the fridge after it has chilled and roll it into 1-inch balls. (If your dough has been in the fridge for more than an hour, you may need to let it soften at room temperature for a few minutes.)
Roll the dough balls in powdered sugar and place them on the baking mat, leaving some space between them.
Bake the cookies for 17 to 19 minutes, or until the tops start to turn a little brown and the bottoms are golden brown. After baking, let the cookies cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet.
10. Roll each cookie in the powdered sugar again while the cookies are still warm:
Put the cookies back on the cooling rack and wait until they are completely cool before serving.
Keep at room temperature in a container that keeps air out. They should last at least a week.
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