Mexican Wedding Cookies (or biscochos, polvorones, sandies, sand tarts, Russian/Czech tea cakes) evidently have their roots in medieval Arab cuisine, and are connected to the timeless tradition of saving the richest, sweetest goodies for special occasions. The treat traveled with the Moors to Spain, and they were adapted throughout Europe. They were known in America as Russian tea cakes until around the Cold War, when Russia was a Big Baddie. Since TexMex food was coming into the culinary consciousness around the same time, they were rechristened Mexican Wedding Cookies.
I made these back in May for an end-of-semester shindig complete with margaritas, dulce de leche ice cream, and something like 18 different kinds of guacamole courtesy of Snehal. Many rousing games of washers were played! Gossip was gossed! Children were ignored! (Okay, just kidding on that last bit.) (Mostly.) These cookies, along with the ice cream (sans pecans), were a hit! I have been meaning to post this forever, but just kept putting it off.
I made these in the most traditional round shape, but they also occur in crescent and disc-like shapes; in some parts of Mexico, they are cut into diamond shapes for weddings to symoblize purity. They’re also popular as Christmas cookies.
So, without any further ado, here is the recipe.
Mexican Wedding Cookies
from the side of the HEB flour package
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
2 cups AP flour
1/4 t salt
1 cup chopped pecans (that’s pronounced Puh-CAHNS, by the way)
extra powdered sugar for dusting
Heat oven to 350. Line two cookie sheets with foil and set aside.
Combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Cream on high for about 2 mins.
Slowly add the flour, salt, and pecans to the butter mixture; mix on low for about a minute.
Shape the cookie dough into two long rolls about 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the fridge for 2 hours.
Cut the chilled dough into 1/4-inch thick slices and roll into small balls. Place the balls one inch apart on the cookie sheets. Bake on the center oven rack for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Immediately remove the cookies from the baking sheets and roll in the powdered sugar. (This part is extremely tedious and will make you question your decision to make Mexican Wedding Cookies.) Place on wire rack to cool.
Makes 48 cookies.