because it just doesn’t feel right – it doesn’t feel holiday enough to me – if there aren’t piles of cookies and candies around. even though it’s just me and erik, the nut candy, caramels, all the cookies from a super successful (and exceptionally fun) internet (by way of the usps) cookie exchange have been in my pantry for a whole month and a half … and now joining them are the cookies i made today. i make mexican wedding cakes every year and usually using the same recipe, but since Joyful got me the Tex Mex Cookbook, I’ve been breaking it out again this week and ran across a recipe for these cookies. since it’s one of my top 5 favorite cookies, i had to try it out. everything else in the book i’ve tried has been utterly delicious. (so why are you still reading this? go buy that book). i also made up a batch of pecan brittle for my father in law. he loves pecans and i wanted to test my candy making skills by making some without using a candy thermometer (mine broke. boo). it’s easy enough to do without one so long as you know what consistency you’re looking for in the type of candy you’re making. just keep a small, cold glass of water around to test and you’ve pretty much got it made. for example, when making caramels or the nut candy, drop a little bit of your cooked mixture into the water and it should form a soft little pliable ball. when making something like brittle, drop a bit of the mixture into the water and if it forms a hard little crystalline piece of candy, it’s at the right stage. of course, if you want to be completely precise and make your candy foolproof, you definitely should use a thermometer… anyway, on to the sweet stuff …
Mexican Wedding Cakes
recipe from the Tex Mex Cookbook by Robb Walsh
2 sticks softened butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans
2 1/2 cups flour
more powdered sugar for dusting
heat the oven to 350. butter cookie sheets or line with parchment. in a stand mixer, beat the butter with powdered sugar until it’s fluffy. beat in the vanilla, salt, and pecans. scrape the batter off the paddle into the bowl. stir the flour into the mixture with a wooden spoon. don’t beat the tar out of this stuff, by the way. it helps the texture of the cookie if you don’t. shape the dough (Tablespoonfuls or so) into crescents or balls. bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom. let the cookies get cool enough to handle. roll your cookies in the powdered sugar. let them cool some more. then roll them again in more powdered sugar.
i really love this recipe. these are so buttery and rich with a really pronounced vanilla flavor. major yum.
recipe found here
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 cups pecans
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
Mix together the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan. cook on medium low until the sugar has dissolved. over medium heat, cook until it reaches about 260, or until a drop of the mixture in cold water is literally hard and brittle. stir in the butter and the pecans. immediately pour onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment and buttered. let it cook for awhile. once cool, break it into small pieces.
a note on the brittle: i don’t think i cooked my mixture long enough. that is, it’s not at browned as i’d like. and while this came out perfectly fine, i think next time i’ll use a recipe with baking soda in it.