Posted on 19 September 2008 by joy
I remember my aunt making these delicious Mexican Wedding Cookies when I was growing up. If I close my eyes and think on it long enough, I can see her fingers caked with powdered sugar, and smell toasted almond and butter coming from the oven. My aunt would always set up a special stool for me to sit on so I could watch her create the most awesome sweet treats. I’m convinced that that kind of love and education is on par with expensive culinary school.
These Mexican Wedding Cookies are beautifully light but flavored with almonds and cinnamon. Cornstarch combined with flour, and minimal handling give these cookies their light quality. Powdered sugar adds a delightful sweetness and the characteristic white coating. These cookies will quickly become one of your favorites.
Cinnamon Scented Mexican Wedding Cookies
adapted from Demolition Desserts
2 cups (8 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted, plus 1/2 to 3/4 cup for coating the cookies
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened but still cool
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons water
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup finely ground toasted pecans, from about 1 1/4 cup pecan halves
Position racks in the upper third and lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Pour 1/2 cup powdered sugar for coating into a shallow bowl or plate and pour the granulated sugar into another shallow bowl. Set them aside until you are ready to coat the dough.
In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, cream together the butter and 2 cups powdered sugar for about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and water and stir until just combined. Add the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and pecans and stir for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture resembles coarse crumbles.
Here comes the only trick to making this cookie: use a light touch when shaping the dough. Lightly press the crumbly chunks of dough together between your palms to form balls the size of walnuts, being careful not to compact them. Don’t try to form perfect, smooth little globes. You want to push the dough together just enough so the balls hold their shape. The looser the balls, the lighter the cookie. As the balls are formed, set them aside of a baking sheet or tray.
When all the balls are formed, roll each ball first in the granulated sugar and then in the powdered sgar and place on the prepared pans, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Don’t throw away the powdered sugar yet because you will give the cookies one final roll in it after they have been baked and cooled.
Bake the cookies, rotating the pan after about 7 minutes, for 14 to 18 minutes, or until lightly golden and just beginning to show cracks. While the cookies are baking, clean any dough crumbs out of your bowl of powdered sugar. If the powdered sugar seems low, add the remaining 1/4 cup to the bowl. You will have powdered sugar left over in the bowl when you finish, but having a good amount will make it easier to give the cookies the final coat.
When the cookies are done, let them cool completely on the pans, or transfer them to a cooling rack. A cooling rack helps the cookies cool faster. When they are completely cool, roll them gently in the powdered sugar one last time
These cookies have the best texture the day they are made. They are fragile, so store them covered on a place instead of in a cookie jar, and eat them within 24 hours… that shouldn’t be a problem.