Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies

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The beginning of December isn’t quite the start to the holidays without Mexican Wedding Cakes. Or, at least for me. I think my mom would agree with this statement. She makes them almost every year. Oh, and my friends Katherine, Michelle and Kesha, they all agreed too as I handed them warm-from-the-oven samples. My husband, Mike, would affirm this too I’m sure, but he’s traveling for work so he missed out, and isn’t happy about it. Still unconvinced? Maybe you know them as Russian Tea Cakes or Snowflakes instead. I just call them Christmas goodness. They have a magical power of making me get all sentimental, thinking about my mom, grandma and Christmas time in general.

The only problem with these little balls is that they can come out pretty dry if you over bake them. Once that happens, you should use them as golf balls instead. Believe me, it’s an easy recipe to make, but it’s taken me a couple years to patiently watch the oven. I’ve made a few that would knock a tooth out. But, if you’re attentive, they’re light and crumbly and melt in your mouth. They are meant to be a little more like a shortbread, but I went ahead and reduced the flour just a bit to ensure I didn’t get golf balls this time. It worked and December holiday baking has officially begun for me.

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MexicanWeddingCakes3

    Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies

  • Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped/coarsely ground pecans
  • Directions

  • Toast pecans in oven at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Or, if lazy (like me) or always in a hurry (like me), take the easy route and toast them in the toaster oven for 2-3 minutes. Using an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until well blended. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon and salt. Slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture, beating until well blended. Mix in pecans with a wooden spoon.

    Divide dough in half; form each half into ball. Wrap separately in plastic; chill until cold, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Working with half of chilled dough, roll dough with palms into 1-inch balls. Arrange balls on large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake cookies until light golden brown on bottom and just pale golden on top, about 16-18 minutes. Check cookies throughout baking to be sure not to over bake. If baked too long, bottoms will burn and cookies will be very dry.

    Pour 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar in pie dish. Cool cookies 5 minutes on baking sheet. Gently toss warm cookies in powdered sugar to coat completely. Transfer coated cookies to rack and cool completely. Roll cookies in powdered sugar again once cooled. Repeat procedure with remaining half of dough, or reserve remaining powdered sugar and freeze dough for later use. Cookies can be prepared 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature. For extra powdered sugar on your cookies, save leftover powdered sugar and sift over cookies just before serving.

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41 Comments

  1. Posted December 3, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I make a similar holiday powder-sugar-covered ball, only I use ground almonds. They are soo good, and nice and buttery. I usually only make them once a year, so they’re definitely a treat. Maybe this year I’ll try the pecans!

  2. Mara
    Posted December 3, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I’ve had them with almonds too and they’re good. Really, you could use hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, and I’d probably still love them.

  3. Posted December 3, 2009 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    This post took me back! My Mom used to make Mexican Wedding cookies at Christmastime too. I usually don’t like to bake, but have been doing so recently. These are next on the list – thanks!

  4. Posted December 3, 2009 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful site, ladies! I’m completely in love with your site design, photography and recipe selections. I’m so glad to have found you!

  5. Posted December 3, 2009 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Wow! Your site is absolutely beautiful! I’m in love…these cookies look fantastic!

  6. Posted December 3, 2009 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    These cookies were always a favorite in my family especially during the holidays. My mom would always make double or triple batches for they were well-loved. However my family always called the cookies Sandies. Later I found out that they’re traditionally called Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies but I’ve never heard them as Russian Tea Cakes or Snowflakes. It’s been a while since I’ve made these cookies with my family and we never toasted the pecans – we just always made sure to get them as fine as possible – and of course I always had to sneak a few pecans to taste during this process. I never knew a cookie could make me so sentimental! Thanks for sharing – it’s a delicious recipe – and they really do melt in your mouth!

  7. Posted December 3, 2009 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Oh, these are one of my favorites! Yours look terrific.

  8. Posted December 4, 2009 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    I just wanted to share that I make these every holiday, love them, but I roll mine in some edible glitter. They are so pretty and sparkly.

  9. Rosa
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    We make these every year, probably my favourite of our traditional christmas cookies.
    I remember my shock as a little kid when I first discovered that not everyone called them Mexican Wedding Cakes, how could they be both Mexican and Russian?

  10. Posted December 4, 2009 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I was just looking for a recipe for these, and I found your picture on tastespotting – perfect! Beautiful pictures, and I can’t wait to make these. :)

  11. Posted December 7, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    i would gladly fling powdered sugar all over my kitchen if a batch of these came through in the end. they’re lovely!

  12. Mara
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    thank you all for your kind comments!

  13. Posted December 12, 2009 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    I love how every culture seems to have its buttery cookie with powdered sugar. I think they are just good celebration foods. In Greece they’re called kourabiedes!

  14. Posted December 17, 2009 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    My mom passed away before sharing this recipe… thanks so much for posting it… should have known Betty Crocker had something to do with it!

  15. Mara
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Deana, I’m so sorry to hear that, but glad we could help in a tiny way.

  16. Posted May 5, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Those look amazing! I like them as is or with pistachios as another commenter suggested.

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  40. domino135
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    Do you ever have the problem of your powdered sugar getting mushy from the heat of the cookie? I am wondering if this happens because they’re not cool enough when I coat them?? Even if I leave them out overnight, they don’t dry out once the sugar has gotten moist. Any tips???

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4 Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kevin Kavanagh, Sunnie and GOOD FOOD Billy, frieda. frieda said: Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies: The beginning of December isn't quite the start to the holidays without Mexic.. http://bit.ly/5tLYST [...]

  2. [...] Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies from Shared Sugar [...]

  3. By Chocolate Mint Pixies on December 19, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    [...] are only two things that I find necessary to bake (and/or consume) each holiday season: 1. Mexican wedding cake cookies and 2. some sort of combination of chocolate and [...]

  4. By Mara Dawn » Almond Crescent Cookie Recipe on December 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    [...] cookies or almond crescents every year growing up. As an adult, my mainstay recipe has been this Mexican wedding cake cookie one. However, I decided to change things up ever so slightly this year and go the almond route. [...]

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