The first cookie on my list this year is the Italian Wedding Cookie. You may know these as Mexican Wedding Cookies, Swedish Wedding Cookies, or even Hawaiian Wedding Cookies depending on where you are from and your own background. In our family, they are definitely Italian. I got this recipe from my Italian-American mother-in-law. Despite the widespread popularity of this cookie, I had never had these until the first Christmas I spent with my in-laws. Mmmm, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. I had to make them myself.
The first time I made these cookies, I knew I'd done something wrong. While my mother-in-law's cookies were little bites of powdered goodness, mine were hard little rocks. Turns out I had both underworked and overworked the dough. What? It's true. I'll tell you the secret. You want to be sure to beat the dough until it actually is, well, dough. I had not beaten mine enough, so it was still kind of shaggy and crumbly. And that was when the overworking came in. I had to really squeeze the dough into those little balls to make them hold together. If you beat the dough sufficiently, however, you can form the balls very lightly -- just pinch off the dough and gently roll with your palms. Once you know the secret, the cookies turn out perfectly every time!
Italian Wedding Cookies
½ cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour, sifted
1 cup ground pecans
powdered sugar for rolling
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until soft.
Add flour and pecans; mix well, until dough forms.
Form dough into small balls, about ¾ inch.
Bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately roll in powdered sugar. Let cookies cool and roll in powdered sugar again.