My mother has made these each and every winter season, and for special occasions, for good reason. They're divine. Along with rum balls, these are my go-to for holiday gifting. Wrap a small tower in cellophane with a velvet ribbon, and you have yourself the talk of the penthouse holiday soirée. More champagne, please!
These cookies are widely recognized as Mexican wedding cakes, but you may also hear them referred to as southern wedding cookies, Italian wedding cookies or Russian tea cakes. They're appropriate for any occasion (not just weddings)... in any country, and they pair exceptionally well with an espresso or assam.
Makes approximately 4 dozen. Active prep time 12-15 minutes. Inactive (bake) time 7 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400° F.
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp almond extract
Work in, until dough holds together:
2 1/4 cup flour, sifted
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (can use hazelnuts, pistachio, almond or pecan)
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheet;
Bake approximately 7 minutes just until set, not golden. If they're brown, they're overdone.
Pro tip: Don't put all 4 dozen on various cookie sheets in the oven at once. They'll suck heat from each other and cook inconsistently, too slowly and become rock hard. Patience makes perfect.
While still warm from the oven, roll in powdered sugar and set aside. Once cooled, roll a second time.
Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and salud!
Real Talk: Avoid a Cakegate. If they're overdone, don't try and cover it up with more powdered sugar. Be kind and don't serve them to others. Practice makes perfect, so save them for yourself at home and try again.They'll be too hard, smell a little burned (yes, even though they're just light brown; it's deceiving.) and be a crumbly, powdery mess. No one will thank you, and you might get a dry cleaning bill. You're welcome.