Pati’s Mexican Table: "Mexican Wedding Cookies" For Any Occasion!

Born and raised in Mexico City, I lived there all my life until I got married and moved to the U.S. and I never heard of “Mexican Wedding Cookies”. We did not have these cookies at our Mexican wedding, actually, I’ve never attended any wedding in Mexico that served these cookies. The first time I even heard the of “Mexican Wedding Cookie” was when we moved to Washington D.C. Since then, I have been asked about them non-stop!

It took me a while to realize that those “Mexican Wedding Cookies” are what I love and know as Polvorones. One of Mexico's most popular treats, we eat these cookies everyday and you can find them in just about every panadería (bakery) or grocery store throughout the country. 

The name Polvorón comes from the word Polvo, (which means dust or powder) because these cookies literally melt in your mouth and break into fine crumbs when you bite into them. They come in many flavors: plain, pecan, peanut, vanilla, cinnamon and even chocolate—but my favorite is pecan. Since the cookie is so light, pecans add a nutty depth of flavor, as well as an extra crunch, which I love.

They are similar to shortbread cookies, and as such, can be made in a bowl and mixed with your hands. Aside from being a quick and fun method, it is practical recipe for a busy kitchen.  The most important thing to remember is to not overwork the dough, or you might end up with some sad, greasy cookies. Other than that, this is a fun recipe to create with kids, and remember, you don’t need a special occasion to indulge in delicious polvorones!

Follow my easy recipe below:

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Makes about 30

2 cups all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup pecans, ground or finely chopped
3/4 cup confectioners sugar, plus more to dust
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using a food processor, blender, nut mill or knife, finely chop the pecans.  Add the powdered sugar to the processor or blender if that's what you used and grind or chop again. If done by hand, just mix together.   

Mix the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl.  Drop in the chunks of butter and the vegetable shortening in teaspoon amounts.  Begin to mix with your hands, until the butter and vegetable shortening are mixed in with the flour and salt.  The mixture will turn into a coarse dough, with chunks of butter and shortening mixed throughout.

Add in the sugar and pecan mixture and work it all in.  Crack the egg into the mixture thoroughly combine, using your hands.  In less than a minute, the dough should be soft and malleable enough to be turned into a ball.  Don't knead more than necessary, you just want it to come together into a homogeneous mass.

Butter a large cookie sheet.  One by one, make small balls of dough with the palms of your hands.  The dough ball should be between 1 and 1 1/2inches wide.  Place them on a baking sheet with about 1 inch in between the dough balls.  Bake them for about 15 to 16 minutes, until they have a golden brown color.

Dust extra confectioners sugar over the top of the cookies and eat and serve.