Mexican Wedding Cookies are also known as Russian Tea Cakes.
As a little girl, I absolutely loved these cookies. The standard version, made with all-purpose wheat flour, studded my childhood with their powdered sugar prints, leaving me licking my fingers and high from the sugar coursing through my veins.
I love pecans. I love butter pecan ice cream. I love pecan sandies. I love pecan pie. So, when my daughter, who is one of four in my family (myself included) with celiac disease, began begging me for Mexican Wedding Cookies, I committed to her that I’d find a way to recreate their gloriously simple and pleasurable shortbread and pecan texture, and make them gluten-free.
I may be partial, or just so happy to eat them again after all these years, but I think these may even be better than the way I remember them as a child. I made mine with candied pecans, for added deliciousness. Here’s the recipe:
Mexican Wedding Cookies
2 sticks softened unsalted butter
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups rice flour
2 tsp. xanthan gum
3/4 cup chopped candied pecans (or toasted pecans)
1 tsp. salt (if using candied pecans – if not, use 1/2 tsp. salt)
Beat the butter and 1/2 a cup of the confectioner’s sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer set to medium high until the butter is pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the rice flour, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar, along with the pecans and mix until combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate it for at least six hours, or overnight.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a couple of cookie sheets. Pull the dough from the refrigerator about twenty minutes before you plan to bake it, to let it soften a bit (so it’s easier to work with). Then, working quickly (before the dough softens too much) roll tablespoon sized scoops of dough into balls and place them on a buttered baking sheet.
Bake the cookies for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden and the cookies are baked evenly through. When the cookies are just cool enough to handle, but still very warm, roll them in the remaining confectioner’s sugar then set them aside (on wire racks) until they have cooled completely. Once cool, roll the cookies in confectioner’s sugar again to take care of any of the stickiness that glommed on them while they were hot.