Gluten-Free Mexican Wedding Cookies (aka Snowballs) - a must-have at Christmas time. Or during a Mexican wedding, apparently. These nutty confections look like round snowballs and are a favorite at cookie exchanges. Swap the pecans for skinned hazelnuts or walnuts if your prefer.
Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Snowballs, or some other names we aren't aware of...whatever you call these crunchy bites, they are the BEST!
Article courtesy of Alison Needham, A Girl Defloured
I wish that I could slow down real time and add more days until Christmas because I am not ready. But I never am, so I guess it really doesn’t matter in the end. Christmas comes, ready or not, and it’s mostly always a wonderful day (even that Christmas where we all had the stomach flu wasn’t that bad–okay, it totally was, but we still managed to have some fun…ugh). I did finally order our cards, our tree is decorated and gorgeous this year and I’m getting ready to wrap today (not really a fan, I must say). At any rate, the kitchen is still humming with my usual holiday treats and I’ve switched to wearing all-things-stretchy until at least late January when I’m hoping to be able to button my pants again (cleanse, anyone??).
Gluten-Free Mexican Wedding Cookies... or whatever you call them.
Last week, I had a special request for "those holiday nut cookies that are shaped into balls and rolled in powdered sugar."
I call them Mexican Wedding cookies, but some other folks call them Snowballs... or "Moldy Mice." Yuck. Whatever the name, they are my absolute favorite things in the world (I think I say that about everything…). But these really are. They are buttery, crunchy and nutty.
The cookie itself isn’t particularly sweet. The sweetness comes from rolling it in powdered sugar–the same powdered sugar that can be accidentally inhaled when biting into one of these beauties causing you to choke and then run, sputtering from the room at the cookie exchange party. (Not like I would know, but be warned, my friends).
OK, let's make Gluten-Free Mexican Wedding Cookies! Or Gluten-Free Snowballs. Or Gluten-Free Russian Tea Cakes. Whatever. I'm not making gluten-free moldy mice, but you can if you want.
Gluten-Free Mexican Wedding Cookies
- 1 cup Gluten Free Flour Blend
- ¼ cup almond flour or hazelnut flour
- ¼ cup tapioca starch
- ¼ cup corn starch
- 2 teaspoon xanthan gum or gum free baking binder reduce to 1 teaspoon if you blend contains binder
- ⅛ cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup pecan halves, heaping or skinned hazelnuts or walnuts
- 12 tablespoon butter cut into cubes (1 ½ sticks)
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 2 cups additional powdered sugar for rolling
- Pulse together flour blend, almond flour, tapioca starch, corn starch, xanthan gum, sugar and pecans (in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade) until nuts are finely ground. Add butter and pulse just until large crumbs form. Add the egg and pulse again, just until the dough comes together. Remove dough and wrap in plastic, shaping into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Shape dough by the tablespoonful into balls and place 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Bake in batches until lightly golden brown, about 15-20 minutes per batch.
- While cookies bake, lightly sift a layer of powdered sugar onto a baking pan with sides. When cookies are finished baking, transfer them to the sugared pan, and sprinkle additional sugar on top of each cookie. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely.
More fabulous Gluten-Free Treats!
Yes, the names Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Snowballs and Snowball Cookies all refer to nut-filled crunchy round cookies coated in powdered sugar.
Yes, Mexican Wedding Cookies can be made gluten-free by replacing the conventional flour with a gluten-free substitute.
Historians speculate that traditional "Russian Tea Cakes" became "Mexican Wedding Cookies" when United States and Russia were in the Cold War. Americans didn't want to make anything Russian, so a new name was born. (Freedom fries, anyone?)
The cookies traditionally have a crumbly texture, but should hold together nicely. If you cookies are falling apart, it could be one of four issues.
1) You didn't rest the dough - Mexican wedding cookie dough, especially the gluten-free cookie dough, needs to rest well-sealed for at least 2 hours prior to baking so the dough can evenly hydrate.
2) Your dough didn't have enough binder. The recipe calls for adding baking binder to the flour mix - even if your blend already contains it.
3) You used an all-nut flour mix. Nut flour doesn't have the stability that gluten-free AP blends do.
4) You overbaked the cookies. Overbaking can cause the cookies to dry out and crumble.
These nutty confections look like round snowballs and are a favorite at cookie exchanges. Swap the pecans for skinned hazelnuts or walnuts if your prefer. You can try replacing my All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend with your own, or a purchased GF Flour, however I can't guarantee the results, as I've only tested the recipe with mine.
Recipe courtesy: Alison Needham, A Girl Defloured