|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 16 to 25|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 13g||16%|
|Saturated Fat 7g||35%|
|Total Carbohydrate 18g||7%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|Total Sugars 7g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
These delicate, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread-style cookies are baked with rich butter and chopped toasted pecans. While still warm, they are rolled in powdery confectioners' sugar, making them an elegant addition to any fiesta. They look beautiful served alone or arranged with darker-color treats on an elegant cookie tray.
The origins of their English name, Mexican Wedding Cookies, is a mystery. While these cookies are undoubtedly popular in Mexico, they are not particularly associated with weddings. Their Spanish
name, Polvorones, translates very loosely to crumbly, an accurate description of their texture.
These buttery, nutty cookies are very similar to others worldwide. They are also known as Pecan Balls, Russian Tea Cakes, Snowdrops, Italian Butterballs, Southern Pecan Butterballs, Pecan Sandies, Swedish Tea Cakes, and Viennese Sugar Balls, to name a few. They are also not unlike their antecedents, Spanish polvorones, which are a flat shortbread cookie made with ground almonds.
“Shortbread cookies are my favorite, especially when coated with confectioners’ sugar. These cookies are so easy to prepare, are not overly sweet, and are rich and buttery. I chilled the rolled cookie dough balls for about 40 minutes before baking. As a result, the cookies didn’t spread on the baking sheet and remained nicely domed. They were hard to stop eating. Finally, I forced myself to stop and freeze the remaining cookies to enjoy with family and friends over the holidays.” —Diana Andrews
1 1/2 cups (12-ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
12 3/4 ounces (about 3 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt, divided
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
Steps to Make It
Gather the ingredients.
Position two racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and preheat to 325 F/163 C.
Place the butter, 3/4 cup of the confectioners' sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Cream the ingredients by stirring vigorously (or beat with an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) at medium-high speed until the mixture is well combined, fluffy, and light yellow.
In a separate medium bowl, combine flour and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.
Add the flour to the butter about 1/2 cup at a time, beating well to incorporate, scraping down the bowl occasionally after each addition before adding the next until the mixture is well combined.
Carefully fold in the nuts with a silicone spatula.
Take a small amount of dough, and roll it into a 1 1/4-inch ball (about 1/2-ounce each). Place it on a cookie sheet, preferably lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat, about 2 inches apart.
Bake, rotating the cookie sheets and transposing them on the racks halfway through baking time, until the cookies begin to turn light golden around the edges, about 11 to 12 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Stir together the remaining 3/4 cup of confectioners' sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
While the cookies are still warm, roll them one by one in this mixture.
Place on rack to cool. If desired, roll cookies in sugar again once they have cooled completely.
- Store your buttery Mexican Wedding Cookies in an airtight container. While tasty right away, they are even more delicious the day after they are made.
- These cookies can be baked, then successfully frozen. Freeze the sugar-dipped cookies on a baking sheet in a single layer. Transfer to a freezer-proof container for up to 3 months (they are a great choice for a make-ahead treat).
- The raw dough can be shaped into a disk, wrapped, and frozen to roll and bake later. Alternatively, shape the dough into balls, freeze on a baking sheet in a single layer, then transfer to freezer bags for longer storage. Defrost and bake as directed.
- To toast the pecans: Place pecan halves or pieces on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 F/178 C for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice during that time. Keep an eye on them, as nuts tend to burn easily.
- Chopping the nuts before toasting them will allow for more surface area to brown, adding richer flavor to the cookies.
- Cutting cold butter into small pieces (about 1/2-inch) will help it come to room temperature quickly.
- Sifting the confectioners' sugar over the cookies the second time will coat the cookies more evenly.
- If you have the time, chill the rolled raw cookies for 30 minutes to 1 hour; they will spread less when baked.
- Chocolate Filled: Shape each ball of cookie dough around a semisweet chocolate chunk.
- Cinnamon: Blend 1 teaspoon of cinnamon into the flour before you add it to the butter mixture.
- Lemon: Add 2 teaspoons of finely-grated lemon zest to the butter mixture and omit the vanilla.