Friday, December 21, 2012

Mexican Wedding Cookies

I have to say, it is such a giant relief that classes are over. I had the most difficult semester yet this fall, and surviving finals was something I really didn't think I could do.

But here I am! On Christmas vacation, back at home...sitting on the couch in my mother's house, watching Christmas movies with tea and kitties. The way things should be! :)
Noah, our adorable Abyssinian kitty
Baking and the holidays go hand in hand, especially in my family...Now that my two sisters are home (one lives in Spain year round and comes home for Christmas/a bit of time in the summer, and the other goes to grad school at Notre Dame in Indiana), we will be doing a ton of our traditional baking. 

Here's a pretty typical Christmas-timey cookie. I was browsing my usual blogs and came across this recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker (I halved it). I really liked how they turned out because I used one of my favorite ingredients: vanilla bean paste. It really kicks up the vanilla flavor, and makes eeeverything that much better. I love it.

So here it is:
(yield: about 20 small cookies)
1 cup flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
scant 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 cup powdered sugar (for rolling)

Preheat the oven, and prepare your cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 cup of the pecans and salt. In a food processor, pulse the remaining 1/2 cup of pecans until it resembles a course pecan flour. Add to the flour mixture. 

In a separate bowl combine the butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste and beat using a wooden spoon until it is smooth. 

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, and mix with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated. Using a small cookie scoop, portion out the dough onto the cookie sheet. I had to use my finger tips to pack down the dough into the cookie scoop because it was pretty crumbly. 

Bake for 18 minutes, or until you see the bottoms browning and tops turning slightly golden. Move to a cooling rack after letting sit for a few minutes on the cookie sheet. 

After they have cooled completely, pour your powdered sugar into a ziploc freezer bag, and working with two cookies at a time, shake inside the bag to coat them in the sugar. If desired, double dip them (do the process twice for each cookie; I didn't find that necessary though!).

And there ya go. Pretty tasty I have to say! Definitely a great cookie to pair with teas. 

Mmmm. I can't stress how much I love the holidays, especially all of the beautiful lights and decorations in San Francisco. 
It just isn't Christmas until I've done the annual Christmas round on Union Square. :) 
Ice skating on Union Square with Nev, the boyfriend
I'm excited for family holiday celebrations now that we're all on the same side of the country/same continent! The countdown til I move to Spain for six months is getting scary-close! 17 days! AH!

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