Mexican wedding cakes or whatever

These hand-formed, shortbread-like, buttery cookies go by many names: Russian Tea Cakes, Sandies, Bride's Cakes, Snowdrop, Snowball, Italian Butter Nut, and Viennese Sugar Balls. Whatever you call them, I made a batch yesterday.

Traditionally made with toasted pecans, my recipe included toasted walnuts and grated orange peel. Dusted with powdered sugar, the cookies had a nutty and citrus flavor, and their festive appearance whispered the holidays.

One bite, and the delicate cakes had me rethinking my plan to make them for a luncheon today. Even though they use relatively few ingredients, these sinfully rich cookies required too much cookie-by-cookie attention, and they are very fragile.

I needed nine dozen, so I decided to make something else and take this batch to work in the morning.

How did these biscuit-like cookies ever get the name Mexican wedding cakes? For centuries, they were crumbled over the heads of bridal couples much as we now shower happy newlyweds with rice.


All About Food said...

Mmmmmmm....I'm thinking Christmas cookies. Buttery. Melt-in-the-mouth. But, maybe I can't wait. I'll have to dig out my recipe for Russian Teacakes. I like your idea of using walnuts and orange zest, Lynn.

The Motley Recipe Blog said...

I love these cookies, they're my favorite and my Italian family called them Mexican Wedding Cakes too?