Sugar-coated and nutty, these popular holiday cookies are known by many names.
Recipe Contributed by Leslie Criss | Photographed by Joe Worthem | Styled by Sarah McCullen
These easy-to-make cookies have been beloved for years. Made with only a small handful of ingredients, the buttery, nutty bites of goodness — commonly called Mexican Wedding Cookies, Danish Wedding Cookies or Italian Wedding Cookies — are interestingly also known by several other names.
At Christmastime, this recipe renders a batch of beautiful round, powdered-sugar-coated balls referred to as Snowball Cookies. Some stories suggest these cookies originated as a teatime snack in Russia and got the name Russian Tea Cakes.
They’re also called Cocoons by some, usually when they’re rolled into a crescent shape rather than a round ball before baking. Yet another name for them is Sand Tarts, though this cookie is not tart-like at all. Sand Tarts come in several variations, including a thin, cutout cookie or one that is rolled into either a round ball shape or a crescent shape like the Cocoon version.
No matter what name you choose to call these cookies, or whether you bake them for the sacred occasion of a wedding celebration, to share at a holiday cookie exchange or just to enjoy at home, all should be in agreement on one thing: They are a delightful addition to any recipe box.
1 cup softened butter (no substitutes)
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sifted powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, cream together butter and granulated sugar. Add flour, water, pecans and vanilla. Refrigerate dough overnight or until well chilled. Roll dough into small balls, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until slightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove hot cookies from cookie sheet, and immediately roll in powdered sugar to coat. Makes 4 dozen cookies.