There are so many cookies to love in this world, and each of us has an opinion about which qualities comprise the best sort.
There’s the dense and chewy cookie that bends ever so slightly beneath the pressure of an eager bite for just a slow-motion moment until, finally, it gives way and breaks to expose its gooey, caramelized core, ripe and ready for a deliberate demise.
The cakey cookie is mighty in volume but modest in mass. This cookie with its light and airy texture yields a delicate, buttery crumb. Like a dream-inducing cumulus pillow of the culinary heavens, this soft morsel beckons its lover into a state of divine exaltation.
Then there’s the crispy cookie. This playful treat has as much fun performing a symphony of crunchety, munchety sound in the amphitheater of your mouth as you have conducting it. Each resonant bite a beautiful new voice in the canon of delightful satisfaction.
As far as consistency is concerned, I almost always opt for the chewy cookie. I find the extra time and effort it takes to get through it extremely gratifying. But no matter how we prefer our cookies, and whether we know it or not, butter is the ingredient we all desire. Not only is this ingredient a fundamental component of basically every pastry in the book; it’s also the linchpin of our food cravings. It’s fatty, sweet-creamy, and a little salty. It makes everything we put it in sinfully mouthwatering. Without butter, what fun would life even be? Perhaps that’s a bit extreme, but I’m stickin’ to it.
So every now and then I like to shake things up a bit and go for something out of my typical profile. Sometimes, I just want a passable excuse to eat a ball of butter, you know? I experienced this very phenomenon just the other day. The snowpocalypse that conquered the entire Northeast had me stuck inside in my comfiest sweater and my coziest wool socks. I figured I’d make use of my extra time the best way I know how: baking cookies! And so I decided on Mexican Wedding Cookies: a very passable excuse for eating butter like it’s a food group of its own. Maybe it was the wintery white scene outside that had me subconsciously craving snowball-shaped treats. Maybe it was the nostalgia of Grandma’s Mexican Wedding Cookie care packages, brought on by the snuggly atmosphere inside, that had me wanting to relive the loving sentiments and to taste that crumbly, buttery goodness. Whatever the reason, it was settled, and soon I’d be breaking my way into the nutty, crunchy, powdered-sugary treasure.
Mexican Wedding Cookies, known by many different names–Russian Tea Cakes, Snowballs, Italian Butter Nuts, Southern Pecan Butterballs–are so well loved around the world that multiple countries claim them as their own. Mexican Wedding Cookies are perfect in their simplicity. These humble little cookies, coated in sweet powdered sugar feel cool at the first taste, only to melt on your tongue moments later, giving way to a tender, crumbly center that is nutty, just a touch sweet, and buttery as can be. Mexican Wedding Cookies are the delicious answer to your butter-fiending prayers.
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus more for coating baked cookies
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting hands
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped into very small pieces.
- Preheat oven to 275º F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat Mat
- Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and powdered sugar at low speed until smooth
- Combine salt and flour and gradually mix into the butter at low speed
- Fold in pecans with a spatula
- Cover and chill dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
- Once dough is chilled, dust hands with flour and roll one inch balls to place on cookie sheet (they do not spread, so no need to worry about placing them close together)
- Bake for 40 minutes
- When cool enough to handle, roll in powdered sugar to coat and repeat one more time