Pecan Dainties (Mexican Wedding Cookies)

About this dish

  • Serves: 30 or so
  • Time: overnight is best (or half a day)
    • 10 minutes prep time
    • hours/overnight to chill the dough
    • 20-40 minutes to bake
  • Method: oven baking

“Uncle Erk’s favorite Christmas cookie”

Every Christmas, my family makes several kinds of cookies to give to our friends and family. The cookies are set on a plate, sprinkled with a dose of holiday-colored Hershey Kisses, and wrapped in clear plastic wrap, laid flat under the plate and gathered up by a bow on top. Curly-ribbon is used for the knot and bow. This kind of cookie is my Uncle Erk’s favorite, so we usually made a separate batch just for him, set in a holiday box. My sister, Suzanne, often made this batch.

Ingredients

  • 1 C soft butter (usually one stick each of butter and (2 sticks) margarine; microwaved is OK, but not hot)
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 C flour (sifted)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t water (cold, otherwise the flour lumps)
  • 2 C pecans, chopped (pre-chopped or by hand, NOT blender’d)
  • 1 lb powdered sugar (for ‘dusting’ cookies in after they’re cooked)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Cream butter and sugar until (you can’t whip it too long; the longer the light. better!)

Add remaining ingredients, (nuts last, otherwise they get smashed) EXCEPT powdered sugar, and mix well.

Chill until firm. (overnight in the fridge; hours in the freezer if in a rush – DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!! – cold batter is the key to ‘high’ cookies; warm batter melts and spreads out before it cooks and firms)

Shape into 3/4″ balls.

Bake at 325, about 15 minutes. (check bottoms – don’t let it burn there the tops will NOT look very well cooked but that’s OK)

Roll in powdered sugar (works to roll when they’re room-temp too, while warm (NOT hot) but not when cold we always roll them twice, letting them ‘rest’ 10-15 minutes in between)

Dry/cool on rack (don’t pack too soon – the moisture helps the sugar stick, but makes them gummy if packed before drying)

Makes 6-8 dozen (about one mixing-bowl full after cooked) They freeze well, layered one-deep between waxed paper.