Mexican wedding cakes are buttery little cookies with a sordid past: During an era fraught with tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, serving once-popular Russian tea cakes became a faux pas when entertaining. Seemingly out of nowhere Mexican wedding cakes began appearing in their place, an almost identical cookie. Try serving them at your next cocktail party.
Game plan: Mincing the pistachios by hand can be an arduous task. An easier way to get small, even pieces is to pulse the nuts in a food processor; just be careful not to pulse them into a paste.
This recipe was featured as part of our Spicy Holiday Cocktail Party.
- Yield: 46 cookies
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 1 hr 20 mins
- Active: 30 mins
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup shelled, unsalted roasted pistachios, minced
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Heat the oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- Combine butter and 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add pistachios, orange zest, salt, vanilla extract, and almond extract and continue mixing until ingredients are well incorporated. Add flour and mix just until incorporated, about 30 seconds (do not overmix).
- Shape dough into tablespoon-size balls. Place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until bottoms begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on the baking sheets, about 10 minutes.
- Pour remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Working with 5 or 6 at a time, place warm cookies in the powdered sugar, turning gently to thickly coat (you should see very little of the cookie underneath). Let cool and recoat in powdered sugar if a thicker coat is desired. Repeat with remaining cookies.