Our upstairs neighbors got married this weekend. They’re good neighbors to have and do things like weed the front garden. They also don’t complain about Lilli, ahem, finding her voice, sometimes in the middle of the night.
Their rehearsal dinner, which they graciously invited us to, was the night before the big day, upstairs at their place. Not wanting to arrive empty-handed, I decided to bake something for the bride and groom. I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t think of making these – Mexican wedding cakes – immediately. I mean, the word “wedding” is in the name of the cookie!
It’s a very simple recipe from Favorite Cookie Recipes by Lou Seibert Pappas. I’ve never mentioned this unassuming little book before, but it has my absolute most favorite cookie recipe – a soft, chewy gingerbread – that has yet to make it onto the blog. I’ll try hard this year to change that. In the meantime, let’s talk about these cookies.
Different cultures around the world have similar cookies. Be it Russian teacakes, polvorones in Spain or snowball cookies, they are all full of butter and nuts, topped with powdered sugar. This particular recipe says you can use hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts. I choose pecans, or, as the Southern bride put it when I presented her the cookies “pea-CAHNS.” It turns out her stepmother is of Mexican descent and had actually requested these cookies as part of the wedding celebration.
For the chopped nuts the recipe called for, I ended up giving whole pecans – purchased at Costco – a whirl in the food processor. There were leftover nuts which I stored in a plastic bag and tossed in the fridge. I’ll probably sprinkle them on top of a salad at some point this week. The dough came together very quickly in the stand mixer. Even though the recipe said to stir in the nuts, I added them using the mixer on a lower speed.
For the roll in confectioner’s sugar, I used a large Tupperware container. I choose it because it had a large, flat bottom and had sides to make it a clean toss. The step that took the longest was the shaping of the cookies into little balls, which really didn’t take very long. The result is a really lovely cookie.
Mexican Wedding Cakes from Favorite Cookie Recipes by Lou Seibert Pappas
½ cup butter, room temperature
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans, hazelnuts or walnuts
Powdered sugar for rolling
Preheat oven to 350.
Beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Mix in vanilla. Add flour and salt and beat until smooth. Stir in nuts. Shape into ½-inch balls. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake in 350F oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and quickly roll hot cookies in powdered sugar. Cool and roll again in sugar.