I think Mexican Wedding Cookies are one of the quintessential Christmas cookies out there*. Besides decorated sugar cookies and gingerbread men, they are definitely what come to my mind when I think of holiday sweets. I’ve also seen them called Mexican Wedding Cakes or Russian Teacakes. I remember my mom would make them for Christmas parties and she’d always have to make special ones for me because I don’t like nuts.
*Update 5/1/2009: A commenter said she was making these for Cinco De Mayo, too. Great idea!
Last month I thought about these cookies, which I haven’t had in years, and decided to whip some up. They are so easy to make and just as good as I remember. I still don’t like nuts and I think these cookies taste just fine without ’em. The recipes I looked at instructed me to make them into balls, but I always remember that my mom made hers into crescent shapes. I obviously didn’t have her technique down because mine weren’t as nicely shaped as I remember hers to be. I guess that’s why the recipes say to do balls. You can’t really mess up a ball.
Last week I finally got a new cookbook I ordered from Amazon and I was flipping though it and saw the recipe for Mexican Wedding Cookies (pretty much the same as the other recipes I looked at), but I noticed it listed a variation for Chocolate-Filled (and coated) Mexican Wedding Cookies. I knew had to make some of those immediately. And I have to say that I think these are my new go-to Christmas cookie. As much as I like the original, since I don’t put nuts in mine, I have to admit they are a little plain. Putting a chunk of chocolate in the middle and coating them in cocoa makes them amazing!
The recipe recommends a chunk of chocolate about the size of a raisin. I used a chocolate chip because that seemed a lot easier to me than cutting up chocolate. But I think next time I will go for a larger chunk or else make the cookies smaller. My first batch of cookies were way too big and you really couldn’t even find the chocolate chip. I reduced the size by half for the next batch and that was much better. You want to aim for about a 1-inch ball and even a little smaller than that if you are using chip instead of a chunk. That’s going to give you the perfect ratio of chocolate to cookie.
Mexican Wedding Cookies
by Mark Bittman
Dessert | Yield: 3 dozen
Prep time: 30 min | Cook time: 10 min | Total time: 1 hour 10 min
- 1 cup (8 oz. – 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup nuts of your choice, chopped (optional)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
Optional: Chocolate-filled and coated variation
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 4 oz. Bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (raisin sized)
- 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
- With an electric mixer beat butter until light and fluffy. Add 3/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar and cream together.
- Combine flour, salt, nuts (if using) and cinnamon (if using) in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in vanilla.
- Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour (or as long as 2 days).
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
Normal version: Take the dough out of the fridge and roll into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet an inch apart.
Chocolate version: Break off two 1/2-inch chunks of dough and flatten into disks. Place a chocolate chunk in the middle of one and place the other on top. Roll the disks together into a ball and place on cookie sheet an inch apart.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until set, but only barely browned on top.
Normal version: Put the remaining sugar in a shallow bowl. Add in 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, if desired, and blend.
Chocolate version: Put the remaining sugar in a shallow bowl. Add in a tablespoon of cocoa and blend.
- Cool the cookies on the baking sheet until you can handle them. Roll each cookie in the sugar and put on rack to finish cooling. Once cool, roll them in the sugar mixture again.