Mexican Wedding Cookies

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Crumbly, buttery, and nutty - Mexican Wedding Cookies are irresistible. Also called Russian Tea Cakes. Make with pecans, walnuts, almonds, or any other nut.

Photography Credit: Irvin Lin

There’s something irresistible about Mexican Wedding cookies. I can’t help but reach for them whenever they appear on a cookie platter.

These cookies have a crumbly, buttery, nutty texture that just melts in your mouth. Like I said: completely irresistible.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

The soft, melt-away texture of Mexican Wedding cookies is thanks to a rich, buttery dough and lots of crushed nuts. These cookies don’t have egg to bind them, so they’re crumbly instead of chewy. This makes them more like shortbread than, say, sugar cookies.

Those crushed nuts in the dough also give these cookies their addictive flavor. Though I’ve tried these cookies with crushed almonds and crushed walnuts, for me, pecans are the way to go.

Definitely take the extra step to toast your nuts before mixing the dough. It seems fussy, but toasting really does help boost the flavor of the nuts and give the cookies the best nutty flavor.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Although some cooks add spices to their Mexican Wedding cookies, I’m really a purist and made this version without any spices at all. Feel free to add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon if you’re that sort of daredevil! Nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves also work well.

By the way, I’ve always been rather confused by the difference between Mexican Wedding cookies and Russian Tea Cakes. Apparently most of the Internet is too! In looking at various recipes in cookbooks and on the web, the recipes look pretty much identical, leading me to believe that these cookies are basically the same despite their different names.

Mexican Wedding Cookies Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 18 minutes
  • Chilling time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 24 to 30 cookies

You can substitute any other nut in place of the pecans. Times for toasting in Step 1 will vary based on the size of the nut you use.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (115 g) pecan pieces
  • 1 cup (225 g or 2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (85 g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cup (145 g) powdered sugar, to coat the cookies

Method

1 Toast the nuts on the stovetop: Place the nuts in a medium skillet and place over medium heat. Toast the nuts, stirring frequently, until they darken slightly and smell fragrant and nutty, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat and let the nuts cool in the pan.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

2 Crush the nuts: Once the toasted nuts are warm to the touch, but not hot, pour them into a quart-size sealable freezer bag. Seal the bag, and then use a rolling pin to roll and crush the nuts until they are crushed into a chunky powder. Set aside until needed.

(Alternatively, pulse in a food processor until powdery. Be careful of over-processing or the nuts will turn into nut butter!)

Mexican Wedding Cookies Mexican Wedding Cookies

3 Mix the butter and sugar: Place the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat together on medium speed until the sugar is absorbed into the butter and the buttery paste clings to the side of the bowl. Add the vanilla and beat for an additional 30 seconds to incorporate.

4 Add the flour and salt: Mix on low speed. As the dry ingredients start to absorb into the butter-sugar mixture, you can increase the speed back to medium. Once all the flour is mixed in and a dough has formed, stop the mixer.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

5 Empty the crushed nuts into the bowl with the dough: Mix on low speed to incorporate.

6 Chill the dough: Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a disk about 1-inch thick. Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until the dough is firm.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

7 About 10 minutes before you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.

8 Remove the chilled dough out of the refrigerator and form into 1-inch balls of dough. (If your dough chilled longer than 1 hour, you may need to let it soften for a few minutes at room temperature.) Roll the balls of dough in powdered sugar and place on the baking mat, spaced slightly apart.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

9 Bake for 17 to 19 minutes, or until the cookies start to brown slightly on top and are golden brown on the bottoms. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes after baking.

10 While the cookies are still warm, roll each cookie in the powdered sugar again. Return the cookies to the cooling rack and let cool completely before serving.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Store at room temperature in an airtight container. They will keep well for at least a week.

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Irvin Lin

Irvin Lin is an IACP award-winning photographer, food writer and recipe developer, blue-ribbon baker, public speaker and occasional social media consultant. His blog is Eat the Loveand his first cookbook is Marbled, Swirled and Layered.

More from Irvin

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Showing 4 of 32 Comments / Reviews

  • M

    Can I use ground almonds instead of crushing whole nuts?

  • Sally Stricker

    Can I freeze the dough for a day or two before baking?

  • Pam Riley

    I love your step-by-step instructions. Been making these for over 45 years, but have never rolled in powdered sugar before baking. Will try now, as my dough is finished chilling. Also never toasted the pecans before. Can’t wait to try them!

  • Cata

    Excellent cookies! My teens, upon eating them, asked to me to make sure I don’t lose the recipe. That good. One thing I did differently is that I did not put the dough in the fridge. I went right ahead and hand-rolled them, dunked them in powdered sugar, baked ’em, rolled ’em a second time in sugar, and once cool, ate them. :)

  • Christina

    Been making these for 30 years, but never once have I rolled them in powdered sugar before baking! We roll them once they cool a bit, and then roll them again once they completely cooled. I am curious to try the new way!

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