I have no idea how today is December 22nd. The month has flown by at lightning speed and now I find myself working double overtime so that I can bake all the things and buy all the gifts.
But then I take a big deep belly breath and remind myself to take a pause because I don’t like going into the Christmas season burned out and stressed. That’s not very Christmas-y at all.
I’m taking some time each time each day to channel my inner cheesy Christmas movie character and remind myself what the season is really about: family, love, giving and being joyful for all the wonderful in my life.
These cookies, are definitely something wonderful. Mexican wedding cakes, also known as Russian tea cakes or snowballs are simply delightful shortbread cookies just kissed with the sweetness of icing sugar. This recipe, inspired by this one over at Epicurious, contains a full tablespoon of pure vanilla extract and it shows. These cookies are buttery, crumbly and contain that sweet vanilla taste in every bite.
I created this recipe to fool all the gluten eating people in your life. There is nothing I dislike more than finding a gluten-free recipe that claims it tastes just like the traditional, gluten filled version of the same and then it…well…sucks. These cookies do not suck. At all. In fact this blend of almond flour and tapioca starch is my favourite gluten/grain free flour blend. The two together provide a light, easy to work with dough that tastes just like all purpose flour. As I have mentioned previously, a finely ground almond flour works well here.
You will notice that I have included weights for the ingredients. You may be grumbling because that seems way too old school or tedious or just plain annoying because the only scale you have at home is the one you plant your feet on to measure your own weight and it’s just gross to bring something that’s had your feet on it onto the kitchen counter. I get it. But if there is one piece of kitchen wisdom I would like to pass on it is this: buy yourself a small, cheap kitchen scale and you will never regret it. Baking by weight actually creates less (!) dishes. You just measure out your ingredients one by one in the same bowl. No need for multiple bowls to portion out the ingredients in, no need for washing measuring cups in between each ingredient, just spoon and weigh and move onto the next. Weight is also more accurate. I measured out the 1.5 cups of the tapioca starch 3 times and each time I got a slightly different weight-195g, 182g, 177g. The same variation occurred with the other ingredients too. Of course, if you don’t have a scale but you want these cookies in your life right now, then by all means use the measurements by volume. You want the dough to easily hold together as a ball and not be too dry or crumbly. Add some extra tapioca starch if the dough is too sticky.
Now excuse me, while I go turn up the Christmas carols, fix myself a peppermint hot chocolate and hug all my people. Tis the season and I’m wishing you a Christmas filled with love, joy and peace.
|Mexican Wedding Cakes|| |
- 2 sticks (225g or 1 cup) of butter, softened
- ½ cup (70g) icing sugar (plus more for dusting)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup pistachios, chopped (pecans could work here)
- ½ cup dried cherries, chopped
- 1.5 cups (200g) tapioca starch
- 1 cup (100g) almond flour
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Using electric mixer, beat butter and icing sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy.
- Then beat in vanilla and salt, then pistachios and cherries.
- Using spatula, stir in all flour.
- Chill dough in fridge for at least 30 minutes (this is very important!)
- Shape dough by small tablespoonfuls into football-shaped ovals (the smaller the ovals, the more they hold together).
- Place on prepared sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake cookies until bottoms just begin to turn golden, about 15 minutes.
- Cool cookies on sheets 10 minutes. The place a generous amount of powdered sugar into medium bowl. Working with 5 or 6 warm cookies at a time, add cookies to bowl of sugar; gently turn to coat thickly. Transfer cookies to a plate or cookie rack or sheet of parchment paper. Repeat to coat cookies with sugar again; cool completely.
- **Do ahead: Can be made several days ahead, just store airtight at room temperature. I have also made them several weeks ahead and frozen them. Just roll them in icing sugar again once they're out of the freezer.