This traditional Mexican Cookie Recipe, also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies, is a classic crumbly shortbread cookie made with pecans, and double rolled in powdered sugar for the ultimate treat. Perfect for the Christmas season.
When I was growing up, these classic cookies always had a place on our Christmas cookie platter. My aunt was famous for bringing them and I can remember devouring them with a big mug of hot chocolate - the ultimate holiday treat! I loved the rich buttery, nutty flavor and the delicate texture of these delicious, powdery cookies. These days, I make these delicious cookies and enjoy them with a cup of coffee in the morning during the weeks leading up to Christmas. It's the perfect way to embrace the season.
This traditional Mexican Cookie Recipe has many different names: Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Snowball Cookies, Polvorones, or Pecan Sandies. But no matter what you call them they're delicious and a totally classic Christmas cookie, perfect for the holiday season.
Why This Recipe Works
- So delicious. The rich, butter cookie mixed with confectioner's sugar and nutty pecans create a melt-in-your-mouth experience. I love these cookies in the morning or as an afternoon snack with a cup of coffee or tea.
- Easy. These are maybe the easiest cookies to make! Simply mix the ingredients, roll into balls, dip, then bake. A final dip in powdered sugar and you're done.
- A Christmas classic. These traditional Mexican cookies are the quintessential Christmas cookie and are the perfect cookie to include on your holiday cookie plate.
- Makes a great gift! I love gifting this perfect holiday cookie to friends and family. Simply place them in a cute box or container, add a ribbon, and you're good to go!
These sweet cookies have just a few simple ingredients.
- Flour and Salt. All-purpose flour and salt make up the foundation of the cookie dough.
- Pecans. Lightly toasted and finely chopped for a delightful nutty crunch. (You can also use a food processor to chop the nuts into an even consistency.)
- Butter. Two sticks of room-temperature butter create a rich and buttery cookie. You'll want to make sure that you use softened butter so pull it out of the fridge about an hour or so before you plan to make these cookies.
- Powdered sugar. The star of the show, this cookie uses powdered sugar both in the dough and as an exterior coating.
- Vanilla extract and almond extract. I love the flavors of the vanilla and almond combined. They give these traditional Mexican wedding cookies their distinctive sweet, nutty taste.
How To Make Mexican Cookies
Making these Mexican Wedding Cookies is very easy and involves just a few simple steps.
- Toast the pecans. Place the pecans in a dry skillet and toast them over low heat for about 3-5 minutes, stirring them occasionally to prevent them from burning. You'll know they're done once you can smell the slightly nutty scent of the pecans. Allow the pecans to cool, then either place them in a food processor and pulse lightly, or simply put them into a large ziplock bag and use a cooking mallet to crush the cookies into small pieces.
- Prepare the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt, then stir in the toasted pecans. Set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar. In a separate, large bowl, cream together butter and ½ cup of confectioners' sugar using an electric mixer on medium speed. Mix in vanilla and almond extracts.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl and incorporating it gradually until fully combined.
- Chill the dough. For best results, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. This will make the dough easier to work with and will help prevent the cookies from spreading.
- Preheat and line. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Coat and bake. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. (A small cookie scoop makes this easy.) Add some powdered sugar to a separate bowl or plate, then roll the cookie dough balls in the confectioners' sugar. Align about 6-8 cookies in a single layer on your baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cookies are a light golden brown. (Depending on your oven, the baking time may vary a bit. Don't leave these in for too long otherwise, they may become too crumbly. Check on them at the 15-minute mark and then give them a few extra minutes if they seem like they need more time.)
- Double dip. After a brief cool-down (about 10 minutes), roll the warm cookies in confectioners' sugar for a second time for that perfect finish.
- Cool and serve. Allow the baked cookies to cool on a wire rack or tray before serving or storing.
Variations and Substitutions
- Try some add-ins. For a creative twist, consider adding chocolate chips, candied pecans, or a little bit of cinnamon to the dough.
- Change up the nuts. I love the pecans in this cookie but walnuts, almonds, or even pistachios would be a great addition for a slightly different taste.
- Add a splash of alcohol. A festive rum, bourbon, or Kahlua would go well with these cookies and would give them a slightly richer taste. (Don't worry - the alcohol would burn off during the baking process!)
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the dough can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to a month. Simply thaw in the refrigerator before baking.
Cold butter is very hard to cream with sugar. If you forget to take your butter out of the fridge, here's an easy way to quickly bring the butter to room temperature (or make it soft enough to cream!). Warm a cup of water in your microwave for about 2 minutes on high heat. Place your butter into a heat-safe bowl. Remove the water from the microwave and place the butter inside. After about 10 minutes, the radiant heat in the microwave will have softened the butter to about room temperature. (Cutting the butter into smaller pieces can also help speed this along.)
Absolutely! Experiment with your favorite nuts like almonds or walnuts to add your unique twist.
Whether it's the holiday season, a birthday party, or a cookie exchange, these delicious cookies are a perfect addition to your cookie platter. With their melt-in-your-mouth texture and irresistible, sweet flavor, they are bound to become your new favorite cookies.
If you make this traditional Mexican Cookie recipe, let me know what you think in the comments below. And don't forget to tag me on Instagram with a pic @frontrangefed - I love to see your creations!
More Delicious Cookie Recipes
- Best Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies Recipe
- Lemon Biscotti With Pistachios And Lemon Glaze
- Chewy Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies
- Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies
- Chocolate-Dipped Orange And Almond Shortbread Cookies
- Snickerdoodle Cookies With Vanilla And Maple
- Soft Sugar Cookies With Sour Cream
Traditional Mexican Cookie Recipe (Wedding Cookies)
- 2 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup finely chopped, lightly toasted pecans
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (2 sticks)
- 1 ½ cups confectioners sugar divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Prepare the pecans by toasting them over low heat in a skillet for about 3-5 minutes. Use a food processor to pulse them into small pieces, or simply place the pecans in a large Ziploc bag and lightly pound the nuts until broken into small pieces.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt and stir in the pecans. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the softened butter and ½ cup of confectioners’ sugar together. Mix in the extracts. Slowly add the flour mixture, ½ cup at a time, until completely combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
- Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours. This will make the dough easier to handle.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Put the remaining 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar in a low-sided bowl or on a plate. Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the confectioners’ sugar. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. You should be able to fit 6-8 cookie dough balls on each baking sheet. Don’t crowd the pan! (If baking two cookie sheets at the same time, switch the cookie sheets from one rack to the other at the halfway mark, and roate the sheets 180 degrees to ensure the cookies bake evenly.)
- Chilling the dough makes it much easier to handle and will prevent the cookies from spreading.
- A cookie scoop makes creating the cookie dough balls slightly easier.
- Allow the cookies to cool slightly after baking before rolling in the powdered sugar to prevent the sugar from melting.