Grandma Millie’s Mexican Wedding Cakes

10 Dec

It takes all my willpower not to eat the whole batch

If there is one cookie that epitomizes my family, it would be the Mexican Wedding Cake (you might call them Pecan Sandies or Russian Tea Cakes). Ever since I can recall, these cookies have been a staple in our house for Christmas.

This recipe was handed down from my Grandma Millie. My Dad loves these cookies so much that we have to put him on rations. I’ve been known to make an entire batch just for him.

As a matter of fact, the first year we did our Secret Santa I had my Dad. All he asked for was a gift certificate to Home Depot. How boring and un-fun is that for the gift-giver?? I spruced up the gift by making a whole tin of these cookies (that he wouldn’t have to share) and then put the gift card in a wax paper “envelope” on top of the cookies. Dad pocketed the gift card and hid the cookies in his room.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted


Preheat oven to 325°

Slice butter into 1/2 inch pieces. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for about one minute. Add in sugar, vanilla and water. Beat until thoroughly combined. Add 1-1/4 cups flour and mix. Add the remaining flour and pecans. Use your hands to turn the dough until it is mixed all the way through. Chill for 1/2 hour in fridge.

Divide dough into 36 balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until the bottoms are lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool slightly and move to a wire rack. Please cooled cookies in a bowl and shake gently with confectioners sugar.

Hide cookies from Dad lest he eat them all 🙂

Kat’s tip: Unsalted butter is preferred over salted butter for cookies and other baked goods but you can use salted butter if that is all you have. To soften butter, leave it on the counter for about an hour. Try to avoid softening butter in the microwave as it can fool with the consistency of what you’re making. In the same vein, it may be tempting to melt it in the microwave but that can REALLY mess with your results.

Kat’s second tip: I am partial to buying chopped nuts over whole/half nuts because they’re less expensive. I learned the hard way that 1 cup of nuts chopped yields about 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts. Adjust your recipe accordingly (2:1) depending on what size nuts you’re starting with.

Calories 91.9  Total Fat 5.8 g  Cholesterol 13.8 mg  Sodium 0.9 mg  Potassium 14.0 mg  Total Carbohydrate 9.1 g  Protein 0.9 g


Posted by on December 10, 2011 in Desserts, Holiday


Tags: ,

3 responses to “Grandma Millie’s Mexican Wedding Cakes

  1. kirinjirafa

    December 10, 2011 at 11:49 am

    My mom used to make these around Christmas- they’re so adictive. We would get a batch of them and pop them one after another with a cup of tea. ❤

  2. Paco Melendez

    December 10, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I will try your Mexican Wedding Cookies later on.


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