Mexican Wedding Cookies

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

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (115 g) pecan pieces (or another nut of your choice)
  • 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.

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.

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Mexican Wedding Cookies

Showing 4 of 24 Comments

  • 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!

  • g-q

    Thank you for sharing! After I finish making the cookies and they are completely cool, I place them in a container then blanket them with more powdered sugar and freeze them. When they thaw I pull them from their little powdery bed and they look just like when they went in; no need for touch up and they have that very fresh baked taste.

  • Bonnie

    Due respect to this recipe, my mom always rolled her RTCs in powdered sugar right out of the oven and then again when cool. This made a lovely thin frosting coat topped with powdery goodness. So delicious!

  • Christina

    How many cookies does this recipe yield?

  • Anna Lou

    Can I freeze the dough beforehand for a busy day, say like ten days? Any tips on defrost it?

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