BY DENISE GEE FROM SWEET ON TEXAS: LOVABLE
CONFECTIONS FROM THE LONE STAR STATE
At best, these are powdered baked clouds that melt marvelously on the tongue. At worst they’re—well, OK, so they’re never at their worst. I’m more Tex-Mex than Mex-Mex when it comes to making these, opting more for the “Mexican wedding cookie” look (frosted) rather than what my friends of Mexican descent simply refer to as pan de polvo, or polvorones, adding a bit of anise and eschewing that follow-up roll in powdered sugar (which I like to do twice). These are served less at weddings and more at Christmastime. They make great gifts.
Makes about 24 cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup ground toasted pecans, walnuts, or almonds
In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer on high to whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add ½ cup of the powdered sugar and whip on high until light and fluffy again. Add the vanilla and salt and, with the hand mixer on low, combine until just blended.
In a medium bowl or on a sheet of wax paper, sift together the flour and cinnamon. Add to the butter mixture. Add the nuts and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Shape the dough into 2-inch balls. (A small cookie scoop comes in handy for this.) Place them about 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cookies are just golden on the bottom. Remove them to cool on wire racks for about 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl or on a sheet of wax paper, sift the remaining 1 cup powdered sugar. Roll the warm cookies in the sugar and return them to the racks to cool. Once the cookies are cool, roll them again. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for about 1 week.
Reprinted with permission from Denise Gee, SWEET ON TEXAS: Lovable Confections From The Lone Star State, Chronicle Books (2012). Photographs by Robert M. Peacock.