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How To Make Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies

The Cookies of a Thousand Names: Snowballs, Russian Tea Cakes, Italian Butternuts, Polvorones … well that’s all I can think of right now, but you get the picture.

Because of their classic round design and powdered sugar coating, they do indeed resemble snow balls and are therefore very popular at Christmas; but given their ease of creation and simplicity of ingredients, they are also perfect for any other holiday about which you are forgetful or lackadaisical, such as your anniversary.

There are only 5 ingredients, which means two things: 1) These are impossible to screw up and 2) You better make those 5 ingredients count. To wit: get you some unsalted butter, some real (not imitation) vanilla extract, and chop those nuts your own self instead of buying a dusty cellophane bag of nut powder.

Once you have the dough together (which takes about 4 minutes), the shaping of the cookies is super fast so you could bust out several dozen in an hour or two, leaving you more time to write letters to Santa, RE: Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom, or to your wife, RE: Pleaseforgivemeforforgettingouranniversary.

Mexican Wedding Cookies Video

Mexican Wedding Cookies Recipe – Printable!

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How To Make Mexican Wedding Cookies

4.7 from 3 reviews

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 24

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar (plus another 1/2 cup for rolling later)
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c finely chopped, toasted*, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, or walnuts
  • 1 c flour
  • For rolling: about 1/2 c powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Cream butter and 1/4 c sugar together.
  3. Add vanilla.
  4. Add nuts and flour. You may need to use your paws to get everything mixed well. The nuts should be distributed evenly and the flour should be all mixed up.
  5. Grease a cookie sheet.
  6. Roll small balls of dough between your palms and plop them on the sheet, about an inch apart, center-to-center. The balls should just be an inch or so in diameter.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the bottoms of the cookies are light brown. The tops should still be pale.
  8. Remove and cool them on a rack for 15 minutes or so.
  9. Roll in powdered sugar once cooled.
  10. Pile jauntily onto a plate.

Notes

It’s important to let the nuts cool completely before adding to the dough. If they are still hot, they’ll melt the butter and the cookies will end up dense instead of flaky.

 

* To toast nuts:

Put whole nuts into a heavy skillet, dry (no oil), and heat over medium-high, stirring or shaking constantly until the nuts begin to smell nuttier and get a tiny bit tanner in places, about 5 minutes. You can also put them on a cookie sheet in the oven at 400F for 7 minutes or so, shaking the pan halfway through.

You might also like this easy cookie recipe: Vanilla wafers

43 Comments

  1. Carra Martinez on December 14, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Whenever I want to express my Latina-ness by baking Mexican Wedding Cookies, I like to throw in a little chopped pistachios and some chopped dried cherries. Delicioso!

    • Hilah Cooking on December 14, 2010 at 4:50 pm

      Hola Carra! That sounds major-delish! Crispy AND chewy! Thanks for watching and commenting, dear one.

  2. Andrew on December 14, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    My mom calls these “Swedish Tea Balls”. But whatever you call them I call them the best GD cookie on the planet.

    • Hilah Cooking on December 14, 2010 at 4:51 pm

      Oh Andrew, I love your devotion to these cookies. They are definitely in one of my top 3 favorite cookie slots.

  3. Gabby on December 14, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    I never heard them called Mexican wedding cookies before. I first started making these when my roommate made them for the holiday 2 years ago. They melt in your mouth. I also like to put extra powder sugar on them. I can’t make these too often, I can’t control myself from eating all of them. 🙂

    • Hilah Cooking on December 14, 2010 at 5:07 pm

      Hi Gabby! Yes, rolling them in powdered sugar a few times really drives home that snowball appearance, right?!

  4. Stephanie on December 15, 2010 at 2:59 am

    I love these cookies! I’m not sure why I only make them at the holidays. I think they deserve to be made year-round! Maybe this should be a New Year’s resolution…

    • Hilah Cooking on December 15, 2010 at 5:40 pm

      I like the way you think, Stephanie.

  5. jennifer benham on December 15, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    dude you should totally have your own show!

    • Hilah Cooking on December 15, 2010 at 9:43 pm

      Dude, tell me about it!

  6. Raymund Macaalay on December 16, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Wow thats simple but I guess the flavours are really good!

    • Hilah Cooking on December 16, 2010 at 2:12 pm

      Yes, Raymond, they are so simple, but so magical!

  7. Vince on December 16, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    My mom used to make these in stick form about 3″ long and 3/4″ or so around. We called them “Stick Cookies”. My wife rolls them in to balls like you do.

    • Hilah Cooking on December 16, 2010 at 11:26 pm

      Hey Vince! The stick way might be faster, even. Thanks for the tip!

  8. dad on December 19, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    save me some of those for friday, maybe by then i’ll be over the gunk i got now. next year put up christmas decorations or tell christmas jokes like why only three kings came to jesus’ birthday. dad

    • Hilah Cooking on December 19, 2010 at 9:53 pm

      Feel better, daddy!

  9. Great Stone Face on December 19, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    My wife asked me to bake something for her to serve to her book club, when they come here for their Dec. 2010 meeting. So, I said, “What about this Mexican Wedding Cookie recipe I just saw on Hilah Cooking. They look like snowballs!” The rest is history as you can see here. Thanks from both of us! The other things I made on the tray are lemon-frosted gingerbread mini-muffins. Truth be told, the muffins are from a Hodgson Mills Whole Wheat Gingerbread mix, but I did make the lemon frosting fresh from scratch.

    • Hilah Cooking on December 20, 2010 at 5:55 pm

      Cool! Thank you so much for taking pictures and sharing them with me! Mind if I post a link to your pictures on the Facebook page?

      • Great Stone Face on December 20, 2010 at 6:53 pm

        Sure, I’d be honored.

        • Hilah Cooking on December 20, 2010 at 6:54 pm

          Oh goodie!

  10. Jack on December 20, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Hi Hilah. I had disasterous results trying to rub the cookie pan with my butter tub. Not to worry, I went out and bought a stick butter instead, threw out the contents and used the wrapper. Ingenious, indeed!

    Seriously though I am not sure if these will rival the Snickerdoodles we made over the weekend but we’ll probably give it a go anyway. If nothing else, the innuendos will be good fun.

    Cheers and great work, as always. Oh yeah, and Happy Holidays!

    • Hilah Cooking on December 20, 2010 at 6:56 pm

      Good problem solving, Jack! 😉
      I think you will enjoy these cookies, although snickerdoodles do have a funner name.
      Thanks for writing and Happy Holidays to you, too!

  11. Great Stone Face on January 31, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Getting ready to make a double recipe. I’m rolling one recipe in cocoa (actually, double chocolate mix). Photos to come soon.

    • Hilah Cooking on January 31, 2011 at 8:09 pm

      I can NOT WAIT to see the pics! And that sounds goo-ood!

      • Great Stone Face on February 1, 2011 at 12:04 am

        Okay. here it is. We have some folks coming over the day after tomorrow, so my wife asked me to make this for them. Thanks from both of us for the recipe! It tastes delicious!

        • Hilah Cooking on February 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm

          Thank you so much for sharing! I haven’t ever tried rolling them in cocoa but I’ll have to, now!

  12. Anaile on October 9, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I toasted my nuts at the las min and threw them in hot in the butter and sugar. Needless to say, they melted the butter. The final mix seemed overly loaded with pecans. Is it bc I melted the butter w the nuts. It ended up being hard to roll into balls, so I smushed the dough into balls and really took too long in shaping them. I couldn’t help it bc when I saw it was an eggless recipe, I had to make it ASAP. I had the oven on already and measures out ingredients before toasting, for some weird reason!

    • Hilah on October 10, 2011 at 11:21 am

      Hi, Anaile!
      Yeah, it sounds like the heat softened the butter too much and made the dough too soft to roll. It sounds like you may have needed to mince your pecans more, too. If the pieces are too big, it makes the dough difficult to shape into balls.
      I hope they still turned out okay and that you try again some time!

  13. Anaile on October 10, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Bc the butter melted completely w the hot nuts, I figured I needed to cook them the shortest time so I cooked them 12 min. They came out really dry, hard and they looked almost raw in the inside. Im pretty sure they weren’t raw though bc the bottoms were way darker than the batch you made on YouTube. Will they tun out right if the nuts arent hot this time? They tasted really good but I wanted a soft and crumbly melt-in-your-mouth cookie 🙁 I love desserts so I’m pretty bummed out! They are suposssed to be soft and crumbly not crispy at all right?

    • Hilah on October 11, 2011 at 7:44 am

      Yeah, they should be like soft shortbread. Also, double check your oven temperature. Sounds like it might run hot if the bottoms were browned but the centers were not cooked.
      I think if you try it again with cool nuts, really finely chopped, and roll the cookies no bigger than 1″ across, it should work.
      Good luck, Anaile!

  14. Drew M. on August 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Ooh. I love these, even though I’ve never made them before.

    May I also suggest another traditional Christmas cookie as well?

    http://www.santafenewmexican.com/food/bizcochitos-biscochitos

    • Hilah on August 22, 2012 at 10:36 am

      Yes! Yes, you may! I’ve never made cookies with lard. Can’t wait to try these. Thanks, Drew!

  15. Liz on December 16, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Is there a chocolate version of these? The recipe I have isn’t the greatest for chocolate

  16. Yasmin on October 14, 2013 at 1:26 am

    I’m having a problem with my polvorones (Mexican Wedding Cookies). The powdered sugar becomes doughy on the outside. My husband says I should let them get all the way cool first, but then the powdered sugar doesn’t stick. Is there like a sweet-spot temperature-wise I’m missing here? Should I let them get luke-warm? Please advise….

    • Hilah on October 14, 2013 at 8:07 am

      Hi Yasmin!
      I know exactly what you are referring to. Because sugar absorbs water from the air, there will always be a little bit of a problem with this, but what I find that helps is to let them cool until they are just barely warm, and roll in powdered sugar. Then once they are completely cool, roll them again in powdered sugar. And if you have an airtight cookie jar or tupperware, store them in that.
      I hope this helps!

  17. debby on December 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    HELP..I’ve made these 100 of times..Cal them whatever you may-russian tea cakes are what my mom called them. So I do t get why I can’t roll them I to balls..Any suggestions on how to fix?

    • Hilah on December 24, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      Hi Debby,
      If the dough is too soft put it in the fridge for a while. If it’s too crumbly add a few drops of milk or water. Hope that helps!

  18. Cali6 on May 19, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Can I use milk to make the dough? Instead of butter?

    • Hilah on May 20, 2015 at 7:29 am

      No. You may try margarine, but butter is strongly recommended.

  19. Peter Goode on December 14, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Great cookies.
    Another variation uses crusher Cornflakes… even crunckier!

    • Hilah on December 14, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      Fantastic idea! I’ll try that for my cookies this year. Thanks, Peter!

  20. Jodi Sorenson on December 24, 2016 at 6:36 am

    I grew up with these as Christmastime, but we haven’t had them in decades. I’ve wanted to make these since you posted this, but this is the year. It’s happening, can’t wait!! Feliz Navidad!!

    • Hilah on December 25, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      Enjoy, Jodi! Merry Christmas to you and your family! <3

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