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Mexican Wedding Cakes

by on December 9, 2007 · 18 comments

A child with many names is a child loved many times. I don’t know where I read this quote originally, but it stuck in my head because my daughter has so many nicknames.

I thought of it again this morning as I made these Mexican Wedding cakes, aka Snowballs, aka Kourambiedes, aka Russian Tea Cakes. I guess a cookie with many names is a cookie loved many times too. They all have small differences, but are basically well built globs of flour, sugar, butter and nuts coated in powdered sugar.

After making a few different Mexican Wedding Cake recipes, I’ve decided my favorite one is still Steve G’s. I don’t know Steve G (or where he got the recipe), but his version is on Recipezaar. Below is the condensed food processor version which I made. I was a running out of pecans and a bit light handed with the flour so mine spread a bit more than usual, but boy, are they ever good — they’re lighter and less floury than other version and in my opinion, more attractive.

I think you could make these vegan with Earth Balance Buttery Sticks. If anyone tries and has good luck, let me know.

One note. Make sure you use really good, fresh powdered sugar. Powdered sugar tends to absorb other flavors and if you don’t keep the box completely shut or better yet, sealed in an air-tight jar, it will throw the flavor of the cookies off.

Here’s a photo. Like I said, mine spread a bit, but yours should be a little poofier. These guys are about to take another dive into the powdered sugar, but I thought this shot would give you an idea of how tender and golden they get around the edges.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cakes

3/4 cup pecan halves, toasted cooled
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp (228 grams)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups powdered sugar for rolling

In a food processor, process toasted pecans with salt and 1 cup powdered sugar. Add butter and process until creamy. Add vanilla. Add flour and pulse until mixture starts to form big clumps. Empty dough into a bowl and chill for 3 hours.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet about 1 ½ inches apart. Bake at 350 degree F. for 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 3 minutes. Toss in sugar. Let cool completely then roll in more powdered sugar

Makes about 36

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Published on December 9, 2007

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Anj December 9, 2007 at 1:07 pm

I love that saying, I might have to steal that. We call them Pecan Sandies and I make these for a friend each year as her gift. Whatever you call them, they are a great cookie.

Jennifer December 9, 2007 at 2:09 pm

One of my all-time favorites!

Emiline December 9, 2007 at 4:51 pm

My grandma makes these every Christmas; I love them. I don’t know what we call them. We just call them good.
They’re so small, you can eat about a dozen.

Joan Skoglund December 9, 2007 at 6:39 pm

When I was a child, my Mother came home from a party with the recipe. The woman who gave it to her was named Bertha and told how she came by the recipe. “I was at a party when this plate of finger-shaped cookies was passed and I took one for politeness’ sake. When the plate was passed again, I took two for Bertha’s sake.” We’ve always called them pecan fingers and I’ll never forget this little story!

Joan (who reads your page every day!)

Therese December 9, 2007 at 7:18 pm

I just made these following your recipe…oh boy….melt in your mouth good!!! I think my mom makes these but, my she shapes them into a crescent shape (half moon-like). I think these were better!!! Easy to make! Thanks for sharing this one!

Kathy December 9, 2007 at 7:50 pm

I used to have a recipe for this cookie that was made with biscuit mix, and it was surprisingly good…have temporarily misplaced the recipe for about the last ten years, but I’m sure it will turn up!

Anna December 9, 2007 at 8:42 pm

Hi Anj,

I guess these are kind of like pecan sandies…..pecan sandies covered in powdered sugar,

Jennifer and Emiline, I knew you guys would recognize these. They’re ubiquitous, but for a good reason.

Joan, thanks for the story. Now I’m going to think “for Bertha’s sake” whenever I eat a cookie. I’ve been out of control with my cookie sampling this week…..but it’s all been for Bertha’s sake.

Therese, thanks for being so quick to try this version. What’s nice about this version is that the dough it somewhat pliable so you could mold it into crescents if you wanted. Some other Mexican Wedding Cake dough is so stiff you can barely shape it into balls. Those are the recipes I find too floury.

Kathy, if it turns up, let me know. Sounds interesting.

Brenda December 9, 2007 at 10:35 pm

I will have to try this recipe. A grocery store in my hometown in west Texas makes them and they put a dollop of colored or chocolate frosting on top (similar to a thumbprint cookie). I always drop by the store to buy some when I’m in town. I have a feeling this recipe is similar.
Have you ever had a cookie like this with almond extract instead of vanilla? Very good too.

Julie O'Hara December 10, 2007 at 11:53 am

I made my version of these cookies on Saturday! I poured over 4 different recipes trying to figure out what effect all the different tweaks would have on the finished cookie. I ended up making a very basic version that is close to yours, but with 1/2 cup conf. sugar in the dough and 2 c. flour. I want the cookies to be very soft–sort of underbaked–on the inside, not overly crumbly. I liked how mine turned out, but they could have been softer. I really want to try some of the versions with granulated sugar (dorie greenspan) and superfine sugar (Cook’s Illustrated), though I’m not sure how this will effect the cookie.
Julie

Cakespy December 10, 2007 at 12:15 pm

Yes, a cookie of many faces and names! I have also heard them called “Armenian Sugar cookies”. So funny how such a little cookie can have so many personalities. But I have always really loved them (my mom called them “Snowballs”).

Dana December 10, 2007 at 3:17 pm

These have been my “very favorite” Christmas cookie since I was a kid–we called them Russian Tea Cakes. I make a couple batches every year–in fact, the dough is in the freezer ready to go already! :o)

Robyn December 10, 2007 at 8:33 pm

Anna,
You are the master.

I’ve been thinking of these since I read the recipe this weekend, and I just broke down and made them.

Wow. The food processor made it so easy and the results are outstanding.

Thank you!

Courtney December 11, 2007 at 12:50 am

My mom makes these every Christmas; we call them Snowballs. They are soooo good. And I hate pecans, so that says something.

taban December 11, 2007 at 2:23 am

A Mexican wedding cake serving set is one that comes with a cake knife and server. These items usually have stainless steel blades; however there are some models that are silver or pewter plated for that extra visual effect to the wedding Cakes serving set.

sharon December 23, 2007 at 12:33 pm

If you roll them in granulated sugar before baking and then conf. sugar after baking, it is kind of like a little crunch crust on them. Very good

Anna December 23, 2007 at 3:13 pm

Sharon, thanks for the tip. I’ll have to try that.

Erin February 14, 2008 at 4:42 pm

The Mexican name for these cookies is ‘polvorones,’ polvo meaning dust or powder, referring to the way they usually fall apart in your mouth, and possibly to the powdered sugar that is used.

Ameluz June 21, 2008 at 1:13 pm

I had these are appetizers for my sweet fifteen. In Chihuahua, Mexico, where I’m from, we call them “biscochos”. My aunt has a bakery and makes them all the time in different flavors. My favorites are almond and peanut butter!

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