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Mexican Wedding Cakes Recipe & Video

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Mexican Wedding Cakes are a melt-in-your mouth shortbread cookie that goes by many names; a Russian Tea Cake, an Italian Butter Nut, a Southern Pecan Butterball, a Snowdrop, a Viennese Sugar Ball and a Snowball. They are very popular, not only during the Christmas season, but also at weddings, christenings, and other festive occasions. Looking at these cookies you could mistake them for Melting Moments, as the only difference between the two is that Mexican Wedding Cakes contain ground nuts (either ground pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, or walnuts).


The secret to great tasting Mexican Wedding Cakes is to use a high quality butter and pure vanilla extract. You can use salted or unsalted butter. If using salted butter, leave out the salt in the recipe. You can also use the higher fat European style (cultured) butters. For the vanilla extract, make sure to use one that is  labeled "pure". For the nuts, while I have used pecans, you can use walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds. I like to toast the nuts first as this really brings out their full flavor. The nuts need to be finely chopped. You can do this by hand or in your food processor. Just make sure not to over process the nuts as you do not want a nut paste. Adding a little of the flour from the recipe when processing the nuts helps to prevent this from happening.

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Mexican Wedding Cakes: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and have the oven rack in the center of the oven.

Toast Nuts: Place nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes, or until lightly brown and fragrant. Cool. Once the nuts have cooled completely place them, along with 2 tablespoons (25 grams) of the flour from the recipe, into your food processor, fitted with a metal blade, and process until they are finely ground (but not a paste). You can also finely chop the nuts on a cutting board with a sharp knife.

Next, in the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract, on medium speed, until thoroughly combined.  Add the remaining flour and salt and beat until combined. Stir in the nuts. Cover and refrigerate the dough for about one hour or until firm. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Form the chilled dough into 1 inch (2.5 cm) balls (about 1 tablespoon/18 grams) and place them 2 inches (5 cm) apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 12 - 15 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies just start to brown. Rotate your baking sheet front to back about halfway through baking. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the confectioners sugar in a bowl. Take the still warm cookies and roll them in the sugar, one at a time. Place on a wire rack to cool. Or you can simply place the confectioners sugar in a strainer and sift the sugar over the tops of the cookies. Let cool completely before storing. Can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks. They can also be frozen. Can roll or sift the cookies in more confectioners sugar before serving.

Makes about 30 cookies. 

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Mexican Wedding Cakes Recipe:

2/3 cup (65 grams) pecans (can also use walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts)

1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup (30 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) fine kosher salt


1 cup (120 grams) powdered (icing or confectioners) sugar, sifted



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