Want a sweet way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Try these Mexican Wedding Cakes from Esther Brody's The 250 Best Cookie Recipes (Robert Rose Inc, September 2013, $19.95).
More cookie than cake, these shortbread-like creations are crunchy, buttery balls laced with finely chopped, toasted pecans (no wonder Bob loves them) and dipped in powdered sugar. The texture reminds me of my favorite Keebler Pecan Sandies and may be even more addictive.
In addition to tasting great, these simple cookies call for only six ingredients (flour, powdered sugar, pecans, salt, vanilla and butter). I had everything on hand except the butter. You need two sticks of the REAL thing ... no substitutions will do.
Mixing the butter with the other ingredients is the hardest thing about making these luscious treats. You can do it with two knives, a pastry blender or your fingers. But using the pastry attachment on a stand mixer takes all the work out of the job.
Afterwards, shape the dough into little balls and place them on cookie sheets. I lined the pans with COOKINA's Reusable Cooking Sheet for easy cleanup.
Wonderful for baking, this clever little sheet keeps foods from sticking. You cut it to size so one box gave me enough to cover two, large cookie sheets. It's similar to using foil or parchment paper but you don't have to add oil of any kind, food slides right off and it is reusable. Bonus!
I put both pans in the oven together and, 25 minutes later, pulled out 40 lightly browned goodies. After letting them sit for 5 minutes on a wire rack, I rolled the cookies in powdered sugar then returned them to the rack to cool completely.
With just the two of us at home, I wondered if I'd made too many cookies. But these sweet treats disappeared before I could think twice about it. Besides having a rich, butter pecan taste that both Bob and I adored, it was impossible to eat just one!
Toast pecans by spreading chopped nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and baking at 350°F for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan, once or twice, until lightly browned. Set aside. Lower oven heat to 325°F.
In a bowl, mix together flour, confectioner's sugar, pecans and salt until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla and mix well.
Using two knives, a pastry blender or your fingers, cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles crumbs. Knead dough gently until it begins to hold together.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 325°F oven for 25 minutes until lightly browned. Immediately transfer to wire racks and cool for 5 minutes. Dip both sides of cookies in confectioner's sugar and return to racks to cool completely.
Author: Esther Brody
Other Works: The 250 Best Muffin Recipes; 500 Best Muffin Recipes; 1500 Best Bars, Cookies, Muffins, Cakes & More, and 250 Best Cobblers, Custards, Cupcakes, Bread Puddings & More
Penned: September 2013
What's Inside: 250 delicious, easy-to-make cookie recipes. You'll find ideas for drop cookies (think German Chocolate Cake Cookies), hand-shaped cookies (like yummy Cinnamon Pecan Snickerdoodles) and cut cookies (Apricot Cream Cheese Kolacky, anyone?). There're also chapters devoted to sliced cookies, biscotti, no-bake cookies, holiday cookies and more.
Perfect for coffee breaks, snacks or desserts, these ideas come with tips for making better cookies, storage suggestions (most cookies freeze well) and helpful hints to simplify prep and prevent problems. Want an easy way to melt chocolate? Try breaking it into one-ounce chunks and cooking it on Low in your slow cooker.
Time Out: 208 pages
Available: $19.95 at Amazon and most book retailers
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