Introduction: Mexican Wedding Cookies

Picture of Mexican Wedding Cookies

These quick, easy powdered sugar-covered shortbread cookies are known as Russian tea cakes or Mexican wedding cookies.  Either way they're delicious, and dead easy to make. 

I remember being horribly disappointed by these cookies as a kid because they aren't overly sweet.  Now I appreciate that subtle sweetness and complex nutty flavor! 

- Preheat oven to 325F.

- Grab a wooden spoon, and mix together in a large bowl:

      2 sticks soft (room-temperature) butter
      4 Tablespoons sugar
      1/8 teaspoon salt (a big pinch)
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract

- Then add:

      2 cups chopped nuts (pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, macadamias walnuts, etc; I'm using pecans)
      2 cups flour

- Stir until everything is combined. 

The dough will be loose and crumbly, but buttery enough to pack together in your hands - kind of like good snowball-making snow.

- Scoop up the dough and form into balls. 

A heaping tablespoon will make a traditional-sized roughly 1-inch diameter ball. I prefer my cookies a bit smaller, so use a flat tablespoon and about 2/3-3/4-inch diameter balls.  Place them on a cookie sheet.  These cookies won't really spread, so you can pack them reasonably close but not touching.

- Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Time depends on the size of the cookies - 1" balls go for 30, smaller ones cook faster.  When the cookies are done they'll just be starting to turn a light golden color on top - you don't want to burn them. 

- Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar to coat the outside, then sit them on a plate.
Be careful: the cookies are a bit fragile until they cool, so scoop them up with a spoon instead of squeezing them between your fingers.

- When cool, cover in another layer of powdered sugar. 

This will cover most of the finger marks left during the previous handling.  They're now ready to serve!

- Store in an air-tight container at room temperature, if you have any left!

Substitution ideas:

Vanilla extract -> different flavored extracts.  Substitute or add on top - it won't upset the liquid balance much.
Nuts -> use your favorite type.  I've had good results with pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, and walnuts.  This example uses pecans.
Spices -> add your favorite spices to the dough, and/or mix them in with the powdered sugar for coating at the end.  Good matches:  cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom - anything good in desserts.


animal lover (author)2012-06-14

can you do it with no nuts?

canida (author)animal lover2012-06-15

Of course! Just leave them out.

Dream Dragon (author)2011-08-23

I used to do these a lot, but I lost the recipe and when I tried it from memory it just didn't work.

Thank you!

Glad(to-meet-ya)ys (author)2010-04-23

My mother makes these cookies for like every event we have =]
(us Mexicans have a lot of parties that always seem to be packed with other Mexicans we don't even know, because they invite themselves)

And then we take a plate home for someone who didn't show up. :)

wellhellothere (author)2010-07-08

I ran out of almonds while making them, so I only used one cup and I thought it was a perfect amount. I've always wanted to make them, just didn't know the recipe. They are quite yumtastic :) I molded them in little hearts for my parents, who've been having a bad week and they loved them :D Thanks a million!

skewlsux85 (author)2010-01-05

add a 1/2 teaspoon of anise or so, some cinnamon and then they will be more like mexican wedding cookies...

haven't tried this recipe yet, but have been looking for a mexican wedding cookie recipe, do these fall apart when you eat them?  thats how mexican wedding cooking are, they kind of crumble apart

lynleyboyd (author)2009-12-30

Can you tell me the weight of the butter or marj stick.  We don't have sticks in NZ just packets

tabi (author)lynleyboyd2010-01-04

One sitck = 90 grams

¡good luck!

hinge (author)lynleyboyd2009-12-30

A one pound of butter=4 sticks.Good luck

wolfsmane (author)2010-01-04

Great cookies! But nothing Mexican about them, LOL! My Great grandmother, and probably hers too, was making these for my mother when she was little, and she's turning 75 soon. And this was in South Carolina!
But still an awesome recipe!

MadBricoleur (author)2009-12-18

What a coincidence! I think my friend today gave me an identical cookie in math class. It was delicious :D

canida (author)MadBricoleur2009-12-21

Your friends have excellent taste. ;)

MadBricoleur (author)canida2010-01-02

Haha, I am sure they do :)

MegaMaker (author)2009-12-20

I always eat these every year. My grandma's recipe, though. They look a bit different.

canida (author)MegaMaker2009-12-21

How is your grandma's recipe different? 
I'd bet it's something to do with the nuts - different types of nuts, or chopping them to different sizes, can have a major effect on the look.

MegaMaker (author)canida2009-12-22

I really don't know...
But  they're YUMMY.

pixie industries (author)2009-12-20

 I made these using Earth Balance margarine since I'm lactarded. No dairy here. They were amazing. Thank god I was taking them to a party since I couldn't stop eating them. Will make these again and again and again. My boyfriend loved them!! And they were a hit at the party. Yee ha!!

canida (author)pixie industries2009-12-21

Great, glad you liked them!  These are pretty easy to make vegan.

I only make cookies for parties or work.  Can't have them sitting around the house, or they start talking to me.  ;)

mbudde (author)2009-12-18

Oooooo. These are delicious. I ad some of these in Spanish class today. We had a fiesta! They were really good.

canida (author)mbudde2009-12-21

Cool!  Next time you can make them. ;)

AngryRedhead (author)2009-12-18
Yum!  I love nutty, shortbread type cookies.  Psh, what am I talking about? I like almost every cookie out there!

I wonder if you could sift some powdered sugar onto the cookies while their still on the baking sheet and gently roll them around a bit to avoid picking them up while they're still hot?  And if you added candied fruit, you'd have a fruitcake type cookie?
canida (author)AngryRedhead2009-12-21

There are very few cookies I don't like.

If the cookie sheet is hot (and/or you're planning to reuse it for the next batch) then I'd worry about the powdered sugar melting to the pan.  I'm lazy about cleaning. ;) 

Candied fruit sounds awesome!

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Bio: I've been posting Instructables since the site's inception, and now build other things at Autodesk. Follow me for food and more!
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