"You're a strange little Cuban…" – Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies

I thought I wasn’t going to cook yesterday.  I figured that the rum cake and dulce de leche were enough.  I was wrong.  Oh so wrong.  It all started with Mom reorganizing and decluttering the kitchen with ruthlessness, a New Years purge of the pantry, fridge, and cookbook collection.  While she was doing this, she was cooking rice and black beans, not together though, like I prefer.  So when it was done I served myself a bowl of beans…”You’re not going to have rice?” Mom asked.  “Er…I guess I’ll have a little,” I said reluctantly as I proceeded to plop a spoonful of rice into my beans.  “This is more beans with rice than rice with beans,” I joked.  Mom just sighed and said, “You’re a strange little Cuban…”  I shrugged and ate my beans with rice.  Mom told me that she wanted to get rid of some of the cookbooks she had and to go through them in case I wanted any.   I salvaged a couple books on Latin food and one of Rachel Ray for my boyfriend, since she’s his other love.  I also rediscovered a Southwestern cookbook I used to make guacamole a year or two ago, and in it I found a recipe for Mexican Wedding Cookies, and they looked too good to NOT bake right away.  We needed more sugar so I went to Food Lion to grab some really quick, then came back home and began the cookies.

They’re pretty simple to make:  you just cream the 2 sticks of butter, 1 cup of POWDERED sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla together, fold in 1 1/2 cups of flour sifted with 1/2 tsp of salt, mix in a little less than a cup of nuts (pecans or walnuts), and put it in the fridge for about an hour.  After you take them out, you roll it into 1-2 inch balls and place on a baking sheet.  Then you put them in a preheated oven (375 degrees) for 10 minutes.  My oven is pretty strong so I probably could have knocked it down to 350; the cookies were a little too brown.  I freaked out a bit because when I put them in, they were sweating a lot of butter and creating their own personal pools, but eventually they spread and it was fine.  Like I said, though, the edges and bottom of some of them got a little too burnt.  I also realize I used sticks of margarine, not real butter.  I’m sure if you used real butter, a high quality one at that, the cookies would taste even better.  Using pure vanilla extract and roasted nuts would also help.  When you take them out of the oven, you have to let them cool for a few minutes, then roll them in powdered sugar.  It’s not really rolling since their cookie-shaped, but you get the idea.  Once you do that, let them cool for 30 minutes then cover them in powdered sugar again.

They’re pretty good cookies, like a very soft, buttery shortbread cookie.  My mom and dad adored them.  These cookies are apparently also known as Russian Tea Cakes, Italian Butternut, Southern Pecan Balls, Snowdrops, and Viennese Sugar Balls.  I guess something with so many names from around the world has to be good.

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