Pistachio and Cherry Mexican Wedding Cakes

12 Days of Cookies
– Day 5 –

I love, love, love Mexican wedding cakes. The name itself is deceiving because it’s not a cake at all; it’s a cookie! I can recall going to the grocery store in my hometown as a little girl and my mom would allow me to have a cookie as we passed by the bakery. Most kids would opt for the cookie with icing and sprinkles, but no. I wanted the Mexican wedding cake. There was something about the tender crumb, the yummy nuts and the fact that it was coated in powdered sugar that appealed to me much more than the gross icing with that funky chemical taste. What exactly is in that store-bought stuff that makes it taste like one, giant chemical??

Anyway… ever since childhood, Mexican wedding cakes have been one of my favorite cookies to bake. When I ran across this recipe on Bon Appetit, I was immediately intrigued. Classically the Mexican wedding cake contains chopped pecans, but this version uses finely chopped pistachios and adds dried cherries. Yum!

I’ll be honest when I say that the pistachios don’t have an overwhelmingly strong flavor in this cookie. Instead the flavor is very subtle, but it pairs really well with the dried cherries. Do note this recipe does make a lot of cookies. I used a #50 scoop (equal to 1 Tablespoon) and it made 66 cookies. Yowzer! You could probably use a larger scoop and it would obviously yield less cookies, but I personally like these cookies to be bite-size because they contain a lot of butter and shouldn’t exactly be eaten the same way a large chocolate chip cookie would. That’s just my opinion, though. :)

I decided to sip on some hot tea while I snacked on a few of these freshly baked from the oven. It was a very nice combo and I think you’ll enjoy it as well. They’re not overwhelmingly sweet, despite being dunked in powdered sugar, and they’re melt-in-your mouth delicious. Go make them today!

Pistachio and Cherry Mexican Wedding Cakes

Pistachio and Cherry Mexican Wedding Cakes
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Yield: 66 cookies (#50 scoop)

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for coating
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shelled unsalted natural pistachios (about 4 ounces), chopped (see note)
1 cup dried tart cherries or dried cranberries
3 1/3 cups sifted cake flour (see note)
1 2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.

2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and salt, followed by the pistachios and cherries. Fold in the flour by hand just until mixed.

3. Scoop the cookies and place on prepared sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 16 minutes, rotating halfway through baking, or until the bottoms just begin to color. Cool cookies on the sheet for 10 minutes before removing.

4. Pour about 2 cups of powdered sugar into a bowl. Working with a few warm cookies at a time, toss the cookies in the powdered sugar until they’re generously coated. Transfer to waxed paper to cool. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container up to 4 days.


Cook’s Notes

1. All I was able to find were roasted, lightly salted pistachios, so I used those instead and reduced the amount of sugar to 1/2 teaspoon. I personally prefer to roast nuts when using them in cakes and cookies, so this eliminated that extra step.

2. Be sure to sift your flour first and then measure out the quantity needed.

3. Since this recipe is so large, you could easily cut it in half. The amounts of each flour are kind of hard to cut in half, though, so I’d recommend doing 1 3/4 cups cake flour and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour.

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