Mexican Wedding Cookies

Whatever you call them, they're an absolute requirement on holiday cookie trays.

Mexican wedding cookies (polvorónes in Spanish), Russian tea cakes, pecan snowballs – these buttery, pecan shortbread cookies go by many names. Whatever you call them, they're an absolute requirement on holiday cookie trays. These cookies keep well after baking, the raw dough can be frozen for weeks and they make a festive gift when packaged in clear cellophane goodie bags and tied up with string.

No leavener is required to make the dough, meaning that creaming lots of air into the butter and sugar during mixing is key. The most important part of getting the texture just right, though, comes after baking. While still a little warm from the oven, the cookies get tossed in powdered sugar to create a melty layer of icing. After cooling completely, toss them again for a finishing coat, and they’ll look just like snowballs.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

If you want to make your cookie dough ahead of time and freeze it for future use, frozen dough will keep for up to two months. Once frozen, place dough balls into freezer-safe bags until you’re ready to bake them.

Yields | 4 dozen cookies |

  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup room-temperature unsalted butter
  • ½ cup plus 1 Tbsp plus 4 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2¼ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

| Preparation | Preheat oven to 375°F. Add pecans to a lipped baking sheet and toast until dark, approximately 8 to 10 minutes; set aside to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter,

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour until fully incorporated. Add cooled pecans and mix well.

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop dough into balls, evenly spacing 1-inch apart on cookie sheets. Freeze dough balls until firm.

Line two room-temperature cookie sheets with parchment paper. Transfer frozen dough balls to cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes; rotate sheets and bake 10 minutes more or until cookies are a light golden color on top. Cool at room temperature for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, add remaining powdered sugar. Gently toss cookies, a few at a time, in sugar until well coated; transfer to a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Coat cookies in sugar a second time, dusting off excess sugar as needed. Serve, or store cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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