project wedding dessert bar: part 1 (mexican wedding cookies)
I’ve been admittedly absent lately. Important wedding decisions have been eating up my spare time. Critical questions, like whether to use aubergine or eggplant or plum linens, are getting answered. Choices, like whether to use vodka or tequila or champagne in my signature cocktail, are being made (in case you’re curious, I went with this). Methods of affixing mini floral clusters to jackets and dresses are being selected.
A pin? But then there will be a hole in the dress. A wrist corsage? But then it will be bulky and obnoxious to wear, especially while dancing. A magnet? Perhaps the best option, assuming not wearing a corsage is not an option. Technically, not wearing one is an option, but everyone else will be wearing them. So deal with it, or decide not to and save us $50. At this point, whatever.
But just as I’ve reached the “whatever, I don’t even care anymore” point in the minutia of wedding planning, it has come time to work on the part that I have most looked forward to and have more experience and confidence in making decisions about. Project Wedding Dessert Bar begins!!
In the interests of not completely abandoning this little blog and whatever readers it still retains after a two-week posting hiatus (and as a way to keep me accountable) while I continue down the road of wedding prep for the next four weeks, I’ve decided to post a series tracking my dessert bar progress. The pictures won’t be as fabulous (I don’t have time to haul everything from the kitchen to the naturally lit dining area just to obtain a “good shot” each and every time) but the commentary for each one will hopefully be worth following. And the recipes certainly will be worth making on your own, especially if you’re crazy enough to put together your own dessert bar.
And with that, I give you part one: Mexican wedding cookies.
Before doing anything (except grocery shopping; do that first!), put on some supportive shoes. Gonna be on those feet for awhile, so be nice to them and the back they support. Or don’t, and rue that decision later.
Make sure all the proper equipment is available, or improvise! Realize the mixing bowl is way too small for the 12 dozen cookie job. Split the recipe between two bowls. My goodness, that’s a lot of butter! Paula Deen would be in heaven.
Regret not investing in a stand mixer prior to this project. Create a makeshift stand mixer with a deep bowl and an old school handheld mixer. Watch carefully while it starts to run, hands at the ready to catch the mixer in case it slips. But the mixer stands steadily. Score!
Whip it. Whip it real good. The massive amount of butter, that is. Then employ some powdered sugar, and pretend it’s fairy dust. After making it snow, it’s time to vanillify! And almondize! While making up words!
Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ … keep that dough a rollin’ … I think this is the single step that took the majority of my time. Thankfully, Jay distracted me with some tunes and chatting about some other matrimony-related decisions.
And I would bake 500 cookies and I would bake 500 more just to be the gal who baked 1000 cookies to fall down at his door. Da Da Da Da Da Da Da Da Undela Undela Undela la la la. Brings me right back to middle school and a cabin trip with the gal pals.
Mexican Wedding Cookies (a.k.a. Russian Tea Cakes) (adapted from several recipes quite a few years ago; wish I could attribute!)
Makes 2 dozen, so I multiplied the ingredients by 6
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1 c. powdered sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. almonds (or pecans), toasted and finely ground
1/4 c. pistachios (or pine nuts), toasted and finely ground
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar and vanilla and almond extracts; beat until well blended. Beat in flour, then nuts. Form dough into ball and wrap in plastic; chill until cold, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk remaining 3/4 cup powdered sugar and cinnamon in pie dish to blend. Set cinnamon sugar aside.
Roll chilled dough by 2 teaspoonfuls between palms into balls. Arrange balls on heavy large baking sheet, spacing 1/2 inch apart.
Bake cookies until golden brown on bottom and just pale golden on top, about 16 to 18 minutes. Cool cookies 5 minutes on baking sheet. Gently toss warm cookies in cinnamon sugar to coat completely. Transfer coated cookies to rack and cool completely.
Sift remaining cinnamon sugar over cookies and serve.