Spiced Mexican Wedding Cookies

When baking an assortment of cookies for the holidays, it is nice to have both a variety of shapes and of flavors. Mexican Wedding Cookies are small, buttery, nut cookies, rolled in sugar that provide a contrast to drop cookies and to cut-out cookies in shape and provide contrast to chocolatey and to fruity cookies in flavor. This version, with spices mixed into the rolling sugar is both flavorful and aromatic. I made this batch last night and loved the way that they made the kitchen smell. Added bonuses are that these cookies are easy to make keep well for gift-giving. Enjoy!

Spiced Mexican Wedding Cookies

Makes about 32

Mexican Wedding Cookies – also known as Russian Tea Cakes, Italian Tea Cakes, Snowball Cookies, and Butter Balls, and probably a dozen other names – are a traditional Christmas cookie  in the United States. They are buttery cookies made with ground nuts, baked, and then rolled in confectioner’s sugar. In this version, aromatic cinnamon and cloves are added to the sugar.

• 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

• 2 T. confectioner’s sugar + 1/2 c. extra for rolling cookies

• 1 t. vanilla extract, or almond extract (if using almonds), or hazelnut extract (if using hazelnuts)*

• 1 c. all-purpose flour

• 1 c. pecans, walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts, very finely chopped or pulsed in the food processor to the texture of coarse kosher salt

• 1 t. ground Vietnamese cinnamon

• 1/4 t. ground cloves

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 2 T. of the confectioner’s sugar and the vanilla extract. On lowest speed, beat in flour and then nuts. The mixture will be very crumbly.
  3. Spoon a small about (about 1 heaping teaspoon) of mixture into one of your palms. Squeeze lightly until the mixture holds together then shape into a ball. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture, spacing the balls well apart on the 2 baking sheets.
  4. Bake for about 11 to 13 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned on the bottom. The tops of the cookies will be very pale. Place baking sheets on wire racks and allow cookies to cool.
  5. Once cool, whisk the spices into the remaining 1/2 c. of confectioner’s sugar. Roll the cookies in confectioner’s sugar mixture until well coated. Once you have rolled all of the cookies once, roll them in the mixture again until you have used all of it. To avoid getting finger prints in the cookies, transfer cookies to a serving plate or a storage container using a fork to lift them.

Enjoy! Happy Holidays!

Chocolate Anisettes


Chocolate Anisettes

A variation on traditional Anisette Cookies

Makes about 36 Cookies

3/4 c. + 2 T. all-purpose flour

2 T. Dutch process cocoa

3/4 t. ground aniseed

1/2 t. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

1/2 c. vegetable shortening

1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar

1 lg. egg

1 t. orange extract

Anisette Glaze

nonparaeils to decorate (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, aniseed, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In large bowl, beat shortening and confectioner’s sugar until well combined. Beat in egg and then orange extract. Beat in dry ingredients.

4. Scoop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls and place 2″ apart on baking sheets.

5. Bake for about 14 to 16 minutes or until lightly browned. Right before taking cookies out of the oven, make glaze. (Recipe below.)

6. Place baking sheets on a wire rack when you remove them from the oven.  Working one cookie at a time, immediately glaze cookies with Anisette Glaze and then sprinkle with nonpareils, if using decorations.

Anisette Glaze

A citrusy, licorice-flavored glaze.

1 1/3 to 1 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar

1 t. orange extract

1/4 t. anise extract

2 T. boiling water

1. Place 1 1/3 c. of confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl. Stir in extracts. Gradually stir in just enough boiling water to make a thick, pourable glaze. Stir in more sugar if needed and keep stirring until perfectly smooth.

2. Working one at a time, spoon glaze over warm cookies. If decorating with nonpareils, immediately sprinkle them over glaze. Repeat with remaining cookies.