We are up to day number three in the 12 days of Christmas baking. Today we are going with Mexican Wedding Cookies. 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 really shine through. You can even freeze the dough and just pull out a few at a time to enjoy another day.
“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 shortbread texture of these cookies. Nutty, buttery, melt in your mouth goodness that’s always a crowd pleaser.
These 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, 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. It was in the 1950s that 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. What these cookies have in common is the ingredients (flour, butter, water, and ground nuts) and that they are commonly made for special occasions and the holiday season!
- All Purpose Flour
- 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. On 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 dough is cohesive.
Next, using one tablespoon of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay on prepared baking sheets. Bake about 20 minutes until pale gold and bottom of the cookies are beginning to brown. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for ten minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled roll the cookies in confectioners sugar to give them the white dusting these cookies are known for!
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. Here are a few other mix ins you could try:
- Chopped Almonds or Pecans
- 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?
Mexican Wedding Cookies
- 2 cups walnuts
- 2 cups AP flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 16 tablespoons butter softened
- 1/3 cup superfine sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- Heat oven to 325°F.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Finely grind 1/2 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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