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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mexican Wedding Cookies








These cookies make great gift in a cookie tin and taste very good with coffee or tea. Also known as Russian tea cake. It is a kind of pastry, commonly eaten around Christmas in both Russia and the United States. It is a form of jumble, a pastry common in Middle Ages England. They are also known as Mexican wedding cookies and butterballs cookies.

Russian tea cakes have a relatively simple recipe, generally consisting entirely of ground nuts, flour and water or, more commonly, butter. After baking, they are coated in powdered sugar while still hot, then again once the cookie has cooled.

Russian tea cakes appeared in Russia in the 18th century as a confection used in a tea-sharing ceremony. By the 20th century, they were a part of wedding and Christmas traditions in the U.S., known by their popular "Russian tea" name. The term "Mexican wedding cake" seems to have emerged in the U.S. in the 1950s, possibly a result of strained relations with the Soviet Union.



Ingredients



1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened at room temp

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons water

2 cups chopped nuts (pecans, pistachios, almonds and cashews)
(you can use just one kind of nuts like Pecans or Almonds if desired)

Additional powdered sugar (~1/2 to 3/4 cup more) to roll the baked cookies in



Method:



* With a mixture, cream the butter and powdered sugar together in a large bowl.

* Stir in vanilla and water.

* Mix well until everything is well incorporated.

* Add the flour, salt, cinnamon powder and nuts mix until blended.

* The dough will be buttery enough to pack together in your hands.

* Wrap the dough in plastic Saran wrap and chill for 1-2 hours.

* Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

* Shape dough into balls (1 table spoon) or heart shape cookies packing in to heart shaped cookie cutter.

* Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. These cookies won't really spread, so you can place them about 1" apart but not touching.

* Bake for 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven. Time depends on the size of the cookies: smaller ones cook faster. When the cookies are done they'll just be starting to turn a light golden color on top be sure not to burn them.

* Remove from sheet to cool for 5 min on wire racks. When cookies are slightly cool, sprinkle confectioners' sugar on both sides while still on wire rack, (place cookie sheet or parchment paper under the cooling rack to catch additional sugar). (handle with care while turning them over, they may break easily)

* Then cool them completely and coat them with another layer of powder sugar.

* They're now ready to serve :)

* Store at room temperature in an airtight container.


This recipe yields about 2 dozen of cookies. You can make them smaller to yield more.

Information on Mexican wedding cookies source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_tea_cake
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_Creative_Commons_Attribution-ShareAlike_3.0_Unported_License


Photographs source:
Nikchick at http://www.flickr.com/photos/63871916@N00/326067095/
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en
Magalie L'Abbe' at http://www.flickr.com/photos/97551727@N00/4440316762/
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/deed.en
Recipe adapted and modified by Surekha from various sources.
Rest of the Photographs by Surekha

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