Mexican Wedding Cookies

When I was young, and (I'm ashamed to admit this), up until about 3 years ago, I was convinced that these cookies were my mother's. By that I mean her recipe that she was brilliant enough to dream up. I guess my mind as a child associated the "Mexican" in the title with my mom's Spanish (as in, from Spain) heritage...which shouldn't have made much sense 3 years ago anyway.

Imagine my surprise as I perused the grocery store (3 years ago) and came upon a pink Keebler box entitled "Danish Wedding Cookies," complete with a picture of powdered-sugar coated balls.

Could these...

Were these...

Were the Mexican Wedding Cookies that had always been a staple during Christmases of my childhood not been an example of my mom's brillance at work?

Apparently not, I soon confirmed with a quick Google search. The exact same cookies are not only known as Mexican Wedding Cookies, but also as the Keebler box suggested, as well as Russian Tea Cakes and, not so subtly, Pecan Snowballs.

Regardless of what you call them or what culture you associate them with, these cookies are often the only one of their kind on holiday potluck tables. They bake up much like shortbread, buttery and crumbly, and after a quick roll through powdered sugar, are irresistible at best and dangerous at worst. You may find you need to double the recipe (this one yields about 36).

You will need:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cups powdered sugar, plus 1 cup for dusting
1 tbs vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup - 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Knead all ingredients except pecans together until a ball forms, but do not overmix or the cookies will be tough. Knead in pecans.

Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled enough to handle (about an hour). Form dough into balls, and bake 12-16 minutes until the balls are golden brown.

Allow to cool. Put the rest of the sugar in a large bowl. When the cookies are cool to the touch, place 2-3 at a time into the bowl, and shake to coat with sugar. Once all the cookies are coated once, sift the remaining sugar over the cookies to give a second coating.


  1. I find it adorable that you had no idea these were traditional cookies. ;)

    However, I think we might try to make these soon. Thanks for posting this!

  2. You'll have the opportunity to try them before you bake them - some will be arriving in your box o' goodies this week!