The Mexican Wedding Cookie goes by many a name. Danish Wedding Cookies. Snowballs. Crescents. Sometimes they are rounded balls, other times crescent moon shaped; all are delicious and traditional: a holiday favorite that's a simple butter cookie, shortbread in nature, rolled in confectioner's sugar. Mmm.
Growing up, we always had them at Christmas time and simply called them Wedding Cookies. They're great fun to make and small hands have super success at rolling the cookies out into little balls, and once baked and cooling, dredging them in sugar. We so enjoyed making them with Diggy when we were children. They're fantastic with a mug of cocoa, and we usually left some out on a plate for Santa.
After years of encountering Wedding Cookies only on the odd year, I discovered that these humble little nuggets are My Beloved Mister's most favorite holiday cookie. So. Let the baking commence! My siblings and folks have been delighted to have these cookies around again. To me: they taste like childhood, like innocence and like Christmas. They also smell wonderful during the baking process, filling the air with the scent of goodness.
Still a newlywed, really, I've enjoyed learning that the Mexican Wedding Cookie symbolizes marriage: the nuts are the inevitable bumps a couple will encounter, and the powdered sugar covering is the sweetness that derives from a union hard won.
This year, as mentioned previous, I participated in a cookie exchange with a group of women here in Nashville, and naturally, I chose to make Mexican Wedding Cookies to share. These mamas know how to throw down, too! Julie welcomed us into her lovely home and twenty someodd mamas arrived bearing 10 dozen cookies apiece, plus non-ambulatory babies, pregnant bellies swelling, and a plethora of goods for the super holiday version of the mama swap-a-rama, which included everything from receiving blankets, books and clothing to toys, baby gear and small appliances. It was all this mama could do to get babe and cookies and a dish to share on the road to the party, so my swap-a-rama goods will have to make an appearance another time. But Ziggy and I enjoyed ourselves thoroughly-- pictures courtesy of hostess, Julie, including a sleeping Ziggy in the sling.
As promised, here follows my basic cookie recipe; let me know how yours turn out!!
Mexican Wedding Cookies
1 pound soft unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups finely chopped pecans
5 cups all purpose flour, fluffed & sifted
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oven toast pecans (this adds a deeper yummier flavor). Beat butter and powdered sugar in mixer until light and fluffy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add vanilla, salt and pecans. Remove from mixer and stir in flour by hand being careful not to overmix. Form into balls about the size of small walnuts and place on a parchment lined OR ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are slightly browning on bottom. Remove upon the first sign of color and set on a rack to cool. When cool to touch place in a bowl with powdered sugar on top and bottom and toss gently. Occasionally toss or sift with sugar while cooling, trying to get as much sugar as possible to stick. When cold, place cookies in airtight container and cover until ready to serve.
This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies.