We are up to day three in the 12 days of Christmas baking. Today we are going with a simple Mexican Wedding Cookies recipe. It seems like at the holidays, everything is covered with chocolate. So I decided to stay chocolate-free for this recipe. These nutty little morsels do not disappoint. It's a simple cookie, but the flavor of the butter and nuts shines through. You can even freeze the dough and pull out a few at a time to enjoy another day or for any special occasion.
"Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone" -Charles M Schulz
Mexican Wedding Cookies
You know you have found a good cookie when one has to dust powdered sugar off themselves from head to toe. In addition to all the powdered sugar, I love the texture. It's pretty similar to shortbread cookies texture. Nutty, buttery, melt in your mouth goodness that's always a crowd-pleaser.
These Christmas cookies make great holiday gifts. It always brings a smile to my recipient's face. It's that smile that tells me it was worth the time and reminds me how much I enjoy doing just a little something extra for people during the holidays.
What are Mexican wedding cookies?
Mexican wedding cookies are known by several different names around the world. You might know these cookies by one of the following names: Mexican Tea Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Walnut Delights, Pecan Petites, Sugar Butter Balls, Snowball Cookies, Norwegian Snowballs, or Swedish Heirloom Cookies. These are just a handful of the many names these cookies are known by, so if you know them by something different, I would love to know what you call them.
Contrary to what the name suggests, the origin of these cookies can be traced back to Medieval Arab baking. It's believed that these cookies migrated to the Americas in the 16th century through English nuns or Spanish conquistadors. However, in the 1950s, Mexican Wedding Cookies started appearing in U.S. cookbooks. In Mexico, these cookies are often known by the name polvorones.
The type of nuts used in the recipe tends to vary based on the country of the recipe's origin too. However, what these cookies have in common is the ingredients (flour, butter, water, and ground nuts) and that these delicious cookies are commonly made for special occasions and the holiday season!
- All Purpose Flour
- Unsalted Butter
- Superfine Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Confectioners Sugar
How to Make Mexican Wedding Cookies
Heat your oven to 325°F. Then line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a food processor, finely grind half of the nuts until they are like the texture of cornmeal and transfer to a medium bowl. With the remaining nuts, coarsely chop them in the food processor and add to the same bowl. Stir in the flour and salt. Grab a larger bowl and beat butter and superfine sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract. At low speed, mix in the nut flour mixture slowly until combined. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl and the beaters. Continue until the dough is cohesive. You could also put this in the bowl of a stand mixer and use the paddle attachment.
Next, use one tablespoon of dough at a time, or use a cookie scoop, roll the dough into one-inch balls, and lay on prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes until pale gold and the bottom of the cookies begin to brown. Let the warm cookies cool on the baking sheet for ten minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Once cooled roll the cookies in confectioners sugar to give them the white dusting these cookies are known for!
Store these cookies in an airtight container. These are a perfect cookie for the Christmas season and are a great addition to any cookie platter.
Mix In Ideas
There are so many variations on this cookie in terms of the nuts. I used walnuts for this recipe, but you could easily use almonds or pecans instead if you're a fan of pecans or almonds. Here are a few other mix ins you could try:
- Chopped Pecans or Almonds
- Mini Chocolate Chips
- Macadamia nuts and shredded coconut
- Add Cinnamon to the walnuts
Give these Mexican Wedding Cookies a try. I think you will be surprised at how easy they are. Be sure to save some for yourself, or even better, double the recipe and freeze half for a later date.
Looking For More Recipes?
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Mexican Wedding Cookies
- 2 cups walnuts
- 2 cups AP flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 16 tablespoons room temperature butter (Unsalted)
- ⅓ cup superfine sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup confectioners sugar
- Heat oven to 325°F.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Finely grind ½ of the nuts in a food processor to the texture of cornmeal and transfer to a medium bowl.
- Coarsely chop remaining nuts in the food processor and add to the same bowl and stir in flour and salt.
- In a large bowl beat butter and superfine sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add vanilla.
- On low speed, slowly mix in the nut flour mixture until combined. Scrape bowl and beaters and continue until dough is cohesive.
- Working with 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, roll dough into balls and lay on prepared baking sheets.
- Bake until pale gold and bottoms are just beginning to brown. About 20 minutes.
- Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.
- Roll cookies in confectioners sugar to coat.
Here are a few of our favorite cookie recipes:
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Original Post on December 14, 2014. Updated December 13, 2021
Annie @ Annie's Noms says
How have I still not tried Mexican Wedding cookies?! I love shortbread, I love cookies so what's not to love about these?! I really must make them as they look and sound delicious!
LOL! I thought the same thing the first time I had them. Enjoy 🙂
When I was younger out neighbors were Mexican and would make these during the holidays and for special occasions. I loved when they would invite me over to make them.
I never had these until I was an adult. I definitely missed out on decades of a delicious cookie
Tara Holland says
I don’t think I’ve ever had Mexican wedding cookies, but they sound tasty! Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Thanks for spending the time on our blog 🙂
Melanie Frost says
I love wedding cookies because they just kind of melt in your mouth. I tried them recently with chocolate chunks in them and it was divine!
I love that idea with chocolate. I might need to give that a try! Yum
These look delicious! I've never heard of these before but love trying new desserts 🙂
Super simple to make and pretty tasty. Give them a try 🙂
I'm so glad you posted this recipe because these are my favorite cookies for the holiday. I cannot wait to start baking next week!