Wedding Weekend: Mexican Wedding Cookies

Pecan Shortbread

As I baked my last Wedding Weekend cookie, a pecan shortbread also known as a Mexican Wedding Cookie, it occurred to me I was suffering from a case of writer’s block. I usually have at least an idea of where a post could go, but today, I had nothing. In hopes procrastination would transform into inspiration, I decided to clean out my desk drawers. And voilà, I a found a little card titled 40 Promises for Marriage.

I picked up this card from a table at Hyman’s Seafood while spending a weekend in Charleston a couple of summers ago. The restaurant keeps the cards on tables as food for thought while diners wait for their actual food. At least that is why I assume the cards are there. In addition to 40 Promises for Marriage, I also found a card titled Words Women Use.  I have shared those words below as they seem equally applicable to relationship success.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

Nothing: This means “something”, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with “nothing” usually end in “fine.”

Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, five minutes is actually 30 minutes. Five minutes is really only five minutes when a woman gives you permission to watch the game on television for five more minutes before she expects you to help out around the house.

Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission.

That’s Okay: This statement means a woman is going to think long and hard before deciding how and when she will make you pay for your mistake.

Pecan Shortbreads

Mexican Wedding Cookies are my favorite cookies of the weekend. They remind me of the Keebler Pecan Sandies I was so fond of in my younger years. Except these cookies are better because they are, by nature of making them at home, fresher.

I found the cookies to be especially delicious when warmed in the microwave for a few seconds before eating. I enjoyed one with my coffee this morning and a few more as snacks this afternoon. At this rate, they likely will not make it to see tomorrow. Enjoy!

Pecan Shortbreads

 

Mexican Wedding Cookies
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: approx. 2½ dozen
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1½ cup confectioners' sugar, divided into 1 cup and ½ cup portions
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2¾ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Beat the butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the vanilla, then mix in the flour and salt. Mix until well combined; the mixture will be grainy, almost like sand.
  3. Stir in the pecans, then form the dough by hand into small balls.
  4. Flatten the balls slightly (I found using my hands to gently press the dough together worked best) and place on greased baking sheets.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool, then toss in the remaining ½ cup of confectioners' sugar.
 

Wedding Weekend: Maids of Honor

Maids of Honor

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Who knew a maid of honor was also the name of a dessert? According to a note in this recipe, Ann Boleyn’s maids of honor were supposedly enjoying  these “delicacies” when King Henry VIII met her for the first time. Since the dessert did not have a name, Henry, being the sharp tack he was, named them Maids of Honor (or Honour). Given those tidbits, these tarts in a puff-pastry shell do not have as much to do with weddings as they have to do with royalty, but roll with me here.

I remember when my sister got married, her mother-in-law shared an interesting tidbit that in long-ago times, the bride and the bridesmaids dressed the same at weddings to confuse any evil spirits that may have been present and meant to do the bride harm. I wonder what people hundreds of years from now will say about our modern day weddings?

Maids of Honor

In Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s time, Maids of Honor would have been filled with the curds strained from adding rennet to milk. I assume this process would be similar to making ricotta cheese, so that is what I used for the filling. I doubt they would have used puff pastry for the tart shells, but that’s what we get to use today.

The ease and speed with which these puff-pastry tarts came together was a pleasant surprise. Given most bakers will have eggs, sugar, and butter on hand, all you need is a sheet of puff pastry and ricotta cheese to whip up a quick dessert should unexpected company arrive or if you are craving a sweet bite. I flavored my tart filling with lemon, both zest and extract, but I see no reason why another flavor of your choice would not work. Until tomorrow, enjoy!

Maids of Honor

 

Maids of Honor
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet puff-pastry
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • optional: whipped cream or confectioners' sugar to garnish
Instructions
  1. Roll out the puff pastry dough very thinly on a lightly floured surface.
  2. Use a round cookie-cutter or the rim of a glass to cut out 12 circles.
  3. Place the circles in the wells of a greased muffin pan. It is best if the circles go all the way up the sides, but partially up the sides is fine.
  4. Prick each dough circle with a fork, then refrigerate the dough-lined muffin tin while you prepare the filling.
  5. Beat the ricotta cheese, sugar, lemon zest and lemon extract until smooth.
  6. Add the eggs and melted butter and mix until well incorporated.
  7. Spoon the mixture onto the crusts in the muffin-tin wells.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. The filling should be puffed, golden, and slightly firm to the touch.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool (the filling will sink as the tarts cool.)
  10. Top with whipped cream or dust with confectioners' sugar to serve. The tarts are best when served warm.
Notes
To make whipped cream at home, I typically beat one cup of cream with 1 tablespoon sugar (confectioners' or granulated) and 1 teaspoon of vanilla or other flavor extract.
 

Wedding Weekend: Cinnamon-Spiced Wedding Cookies

Cinnamon-Spiced Wedding Cookies

I feel it necessary to start this post off with a reassurance to my mother: Mom, I have no plans to elope this weekend or any weekend in the near future. The title Wedding Weekend is simply to note a three-day series wedding cookie recipes I plan to share.

June is a popular month for weddings, and my family is no exception. My parents celebrated 42 years of marriage on June 5, my grandparents will celebrate 61 years of marriage tomorrow, and my sister and brother-in-law will celebrate five years of marriage on June 23.

Though I share personal tidbits via this blog for anyone to read, I am actually a very private person. I prefer to observe what takes place around me much more than I prefer to be the object of observation, so the thought of walking down an aisle while everyone looks at me really freaks me out. Yet if you asked me to deliver a presentation to a room full of people, I would not bat an eye.

I am uncertain why public walking makes me quake in fear yet public speaking barely raises my blood pressure. Perhaps because imagining some of the creatures people I have dated waiting for me at the end of an aisle makes my natural fight or flight instinct kick in. If only there were a dessert table at the end of that aisle, things might be different.

Cinnamon-Spiced Wedding Cookies

The first Wedding Weekend recipe I have to share is for cinnamon-spiced wedding cookies. The cookbook where I found this recipe offered no explanation of the cookies’ relationship to weddings, and I have not seen these cookies at any weddings I have attended. If anyone can shed some light on why cinnamon-spiced wedding cookies are called wedding cookies, I would love to know.

I had never baked a cookie with cornstarch as a main ingredient before. Just like cornstarch feels feathery in my hands it lent a feathery feel to the cookies, and they just sort of melted away after a bite. A note in the recipe suggested forming the cookie dough around a piece of chocolate or candied fruit. I tried making a few cookies with chocolate chips in the middle, but I preferred the plain cinnamon-sugar cookies.

I am a lover of soft cookies, so a little ball of crunchy dough, no matter how sweet, does not immediately catch my interest. But these cinnamon-spiced wedding cookies grew on me. I found them to be the perfect accompaniment to a morning cup of coffee or an evening cup of tea. Until tomorrow, enjoy.

Cinnamon-Spiced Wedding Cookies

Cinnamon-Spiced Wedding Cookies
 
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: about 2 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla extract.
  2. Slowly add the flour and cornstarch and mix until combined.
  3. Form the mixture into small balls and place on lightly greased baking sheets.
  4. Bake at 325 degrees F until golden, about 30 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool slightly, then toss or roll the warm (not hot!) cookies in a mixture of confectioners' and cinnamon.
Notes
I found the balls came together best with about two teaspoons of dough.