Spiced Mexican wedding cookies

This buttery nugget, cushioned in a melt-in-your-mouth layer of powdered sugar, is a favorite around the world, also known by the names Italian wedding cookie, Russian tea cake or snowball. This sweetly spiced version is adapted from The Pollan Family Table.

Cookie ingredients

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 1 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts and almonds are all great)

Powdered sugar coating

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Put softened butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy, mixing in vanilla and salt. Add flour in batches, mixing well. Stir in the nuts by hand.
  3. Form spoonfuls of dough into a small ball and flatten slightly (use enough dough to form a chubby disk that is about 1 inch across when flattened). Place on ungreased baking sheet about 1 inch apart (the cookies do not spread much as they bake).
  4. Bake until the cookies are set but not at all browned, 12-14 minutes. The cookies will be more tender if they are not overbaked. You can break one open to check doneness – a fully baked cookie will have crumbs without dense doughiness inside. With no egg in the dough, you don’t have to worry about any health risks with underbaking.
  5. While the cookies bake, mix in a small bowl 1 cup of powdered sugar with the cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg.
  6. While the cookies are still warm (they only take a few minutes to cool enough), take a few at a time and gently turn them in the spiced powdered sugar.
  7. For a more perfect-looking finish, you can run them through the powdered sugar one more time when the cookies are fully cooled.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Notes

  • You can really use any type of nut you like here; just make sure they are chopped finely, or the dough may not hold together as well.
  • If your ambient room temperature is warm enough that the dough is inconveniently sticky to handle, refrigerate it for 20 minutes (or more) for easier handling. Make sure the dough is covered in the refrigerator so it doesn’t dry out.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan 16 December 2014 at 6:16 pm

I make these also, but I love the idea of the cardamom–my Swedish husband will love this!

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cg 14 January 2015 at 5:24 pm

hi megan – i hope your swedish husband likes the cardamom! it really is a step up. =)

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