Today, we will do an easy and delicious recipe that is everywhere in Mexico during the holidays: Besitos de Nuez, also known as Mexican wedding cookies. Though the name suggests otherwise, Mexican wedding cookies are usually seen in occasions other than celebrations of matrimony, especially for entertaining guests. During the holiday season, one will likely find these powdered sugar-dusted, crunchy, nut-filled cookies paired with hot chocolate or coffee among an assortment of other delicious treats.
Another misconception about these buttery cookies that comes from its name is that, in fact Mexican wedding cookies originated outside of Mexico. Their creation has been traced back to medieval Arab baking, which developed in Spain, and it probably became a recipe passed on from Spanish nuns and missionaries in Mexico and other parts of the American continent.
Known with many other names such as Polvorones de Nuez, Besos de Angel, or Bizcochitos in Spanish and snowballs or pecan sandies on the East Coast of the United States, one of the most common name in Mexico for these cookies is Besitos de Nuez, which literally translates to Pecan’s kisses. These sweet treats are a white, small, crumbly cookie particularly famous during the holiday season. That is because they are easy to make, do not require a long time for baking, and do not contain eggs, which allows for them to last longer.
If you are brainstorming of ways to substitute or upgrade a classic snickerdoodle or gingerbread snaps, why not add another variation with these delicious cookies?
Besitos de Nuez, or Mexican Wedding Cookies Recipe:
- 1 cup of pecans
- 1 ½ cup Confectioner’s sugar, divided into ½ and 1 for powdering the cookies
- 1 cup, 200g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
We will start by chopping the pecans. We can do this manually, with a knife, or help ourselves with a blender or food processor trying our best to chop them into small pieces. The finer these are chopped, the better it will be as the pieces will not interfere with the cookie’s consistency.
Once chopped, we will begin making the dough by first softening the butter. We prefer to do this by cutting it into small equally-sized pieces first and allowing it to get to room temperature.. However, if you are in a rush, you can use your microwave: heat water in a microwave-safe glass or ceramic cup, then pour it out and place the cup over the pieces of butter for 2-3 minutes. If you have a stand in mixer you can also directly mix until soft.
Once softened, cream the butter and ½ cup of confectioner’s sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla and a pinch of salt. Next, we will add the flour. Whisk in flour gradually, we recommend adding ½ a cup at a time. If you notice that it is becoming complicated to mix, we recommend using a wooden spoon or your hands so that the dough is fully incorporated. Next, we will add the chopped pecans. Mix all ingredients until we get a homogeneous dough that is soft and does not stick to your hands.
Chill 30 minutes to 1 hour in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Once chilled, form 1 inch dough balls or crescents and place them in a parchment paper lined or ungreased baking sheet, 1 inch apart.
Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes, or just until the cookies start to turn golden-brown. The secret to making these cookies is in the baking, so be careful not to under-bake them and not to burn them either, you are looking for these cookies to be just a little bit golden in color.
Remove from oven and transfer them to a wire rack. Allow to cool slightly and, while cookies are still warm (but NOT hot), roll in confectioners’ sugar one at a time until evenly coated. Put them back in wire rack for them to cool completely. If you would like for them to be whiter and sweeter, we recommend a second coat of sugar.
- The last coat of sugar allows for a little creativity! For example, you can mix and match textures and add granulated sugar or brown sugar to the mix so that there are bigger pieces.
- If you like cinnamon, you can add it to the mix! Others like to melt chocolate and add chocolate lines to the cookies (before the final sugar coat so that it sticks).
- You can substitute pecans for walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds, and even mix all these nuts together for different flavors, though are favorite will always be the classic pecan version.
- If you would like your cookies to be completely coated with sugar, we recommend allowing the cookies to cool in a pan filled with powdered sugar overnight.
- They can last about one week in an airtight container in a dry, cool place. So, if you would like to gift them, these would look perfect in a mason jar with a ribbon.
There it is! A perfect Treat that is easy to make and perfect for gifting and hosting during these holidays (and any other celebration). These also paired deliciously with coffee, available here. We drew the inspiration from our tabletop collection, thinking how lovely these would look in a Parota Tortillero or a Woven Aluminum Basket. How would you display them?
So, what do you think? Will you be making this recipe anytime soon? Would you make it for gifting or for hosting? Is there any other recipe you would like for us to share with you all? Let us know, we would love to hear from you!
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