Here's the first baby shower recipe I promised you. These were pretty amazing tasting so I thought I'd share this recipe first. My neighbors bake these every year at Christmastime along with about 6 other homemade cookies. They make pecan tassies, rugelash, thumbprint cookies and other bite-sized morsels but these are my absolute favorites. I like them so much that when they walk the plate or box of cookies to my door, I immediately eat these first without sharing.
I've always referred to these cookies as Mexican Wedding Cookies, but my grandma and mom said they have to be crescent shaped to be called that, because that's what they're used to. They're essentially the same thing but round. Mexican Wedding Cookies, also known as Russian Tea Cakes, are rich, nutty shortbread cookies rolled in powdered sugar. The cookie is not specifically connected to any one culture, but traditionally they are served to guests at special occasions or holidays because they are made with rich and expensive foods (the richest butter, finest sugar and choicest nuts).
And cheap they are not. I doubled the recipe, and the chopped nuts and butter alone cost about $15. I made these with help from my momma (Thank you Mom!) for thank you favors at my baby shower. Because it was a special day, I wasn't really concerned with the price of making them because I knew they would be homemade and fresher than anything else I could buy on a grocery store shelf. They also were far less expensive to make than other party favors. I needed 25-30 favors so each little gift bag including packaging costs about $1.00. Not too bad!
These little snowball like cookies just melt in your mouth. Once they hit your tongue, the powdered sugar just dissipates. The buttery cookie center is slightly crunchy then they too just melt away. I don't know how else to describe them. They're like lime melt-aways in texture but they're nutty and buttery. The cookie itself has very little sugar in them since they're coated twice in powdered sugar once they're baked. But the final product isn't too sweet, they're just perfect. I used a small ice cream scoop to form the balls, but they could be made even smaller since they puff slightly in the oven. I hope you, too, will make these for your next special occasion or holiday.
Pecan Butter Balls (Mexican Wedding Cookies)
adapted from Cooks Catalog
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- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
- 1/4 granulated cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans or walnuts
- powdered sugar for coating
Cream butter and sugar together. Add salt and vanilla.
Slowly add the flour to the butter/sugar mixture just until it forms a dough. Add the chopped nuts and mix until just combined.
Roll dough into half inch balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheets about an inch apart.
Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
As soon as they come out of the oven, roll them in powdered sugar while the cookies are still hot. Be careful because the cookies are extremely hot and fragile. Place cookies on a cooling rack.
Once cookies have cooled completely, roll them in powdered sugar again.
Makes 60-70 cookies.
Hope everyone has a great week. Next recipe: Mini Cheesecakes with lemon curd and berries!