Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies

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.


    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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  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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    your in your mid 20 s so your suppose to be old eoungh to make choices with ur life that atleast take half a brain to come up with the answer.. YOU chose to marry him knowing these things.. you made that decision no one forced u into it.. so now u need to learn to work through this.. I knew a couple that were dating on the internet.. and although they were commited to each other through the internet the guy was getting sick of waiting wondering if she’d ever really come cause he was trusting in her that she was infact going to come but kept stalling or having reasons to put off coming to the point that he considered having sex with someone else because it was a year and a half since they had met online, and lets face it a year and a half of no sex is alot to ask of anyone, but let alone someone that u’ve never met fact to face.. so maybe thats what happened with ur guy, maybe he started to lose faith that u’d eventually move to be with him and he made a bad choice.. i doubt if it was anything but sex..and now that u are with him.. and now married to him.. has he given u any reason to believe that he’d cheat on u now? Since Oct.. and this whole thing with this chic came to light, has he done anything to make you feel insecure? is he hiding things? is he constantly late? is he still contacting her? is he trying his butt off to make u see that he loves u and only u and wants to be only with u??????? crap happens, but his true commitment wasnt made till the day he said I do to u.. and if from this moment on for the next 50 years he loves u and is true to u wouldnt it be worth it? so give him a chance, if he screws it up again, go back home and chalk it up to a huge mistake.. but u chose to marry him, so u chose to give him this chance to prove to you that he can forsake all others and be true to only you.. so dont be blind.. but have faith that he wouldnt of gone to all the trouble of marrying u if he truely didnt want to be with u .. if he wanted her , he could of been with her, but he chose u in the end so give ur marriage a fair shake.. try and put this behind u and look forward.. until he gives u a reason not to trust in your marriage and your vows..To your edit.. really doesnt change things.. ur the idiot that chose to still marry him knowing all of this.. so u need to own up to the choices u’ve made and be accountable for your own actions.. marriage vows are not to be taken lightly and the fact that u still proceeded to marry this guy and a month later ur thinking it was a mistake , just shows how stupid and immature u really are.. he didnt trick u , you have your own brain to bad u dont know how to use it..

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