Doing some last-minute holiday baking? Here’s an easy cookie recipe from Anna Gass.
When holiday preparations begin, I genuinely enjoy the annual tradition of dusting off my old recipe box filled with dishes we only eat this time of year. Like many cooks, I have my go-to recipes that I love to make in December. It’s not that I don’t adore these recipes year round, but this time of year evokes that culinary nostalgia for baking recipes that symbolize holiday cheer.
For me, it’s holiday cookies that instantly conjure images of snow-capped houses and family dinners. So once the aroma of my cookies begins to waft out of the kitchen, everyone in my house knows the holidays are in full swing. Over the next four weeks, I will be sharing my favorite holiday cookies that not only represent what this time of year means to me, but also showcase the melting pot of cuisines and recipes we feast upon in the United States.
This week, I’m diving into Mexican wedding cookies, also known as polvorones in Spanish. While it is a very popular cookie in the United States for the holidays, as it resembles a perfect little snowball, these cookies are most often found in bakeries in Mexico.
Although this little cookie includes Mexico in the name, many believe it could have traveled from the Middle East or Eastern Europe. But these days, the Mexican wedding cookie is most notably found at celebrations because of its use of expensive ingredients like nuts and butter. In Mexico, they are often served at weddings and christenings.
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Regardless of its origins, it’s perfect for the holidays since the dough—a decadent mix of butter, toasted nuts, flour, and a hefty scattering of cinnamon—can be rolled into little balls or shaped into half-moon crescents.
Mexican Wedding Cookies (Polvorones)
The generous dusting of powdered sugar creates the snowball effect for these cookies and also ensures you’ll be licking your fingers with every bite.
Mexican Wedding Cookies Recipe
- 1 cup pecans or almonds (your choice)
- 3 cups AP flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Bake the pecans or almonds on a baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes, until toasted and aromatic.
- Once the nuts have cooled, pulse them in a food processor until ground fine but not too much they turn into a paste. They should still be loose.
- Place them in a large bowl with the flour, salt and cinnamon and stir to combine.
- In a stand mixer or large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale. Add the vanilla and then the flour mixture, mixing until fully combined.
- Using a tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the dough and then roll them into balls. Place on a lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until lightly brown.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack. Once they are completely cool, roll them in the confectioners sugar.
Header image by Anna Gass.