These Mexican Wedding Cookies (often called Russian Teacakes, Walnut Crescents, or Mexican Wedding Cakes) are melt-in-your-mouth delicious, nutty, and delicate. They're also gluten-free, corn-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and vegan! (Did I mention they're also SUPER quick and easy to make?)
When I was a kid, my brother and I had a small but sacred list of favorite Christmas cookies, that just HAD to be made every year. It wouldn't have felt like Christmas without Gingerbread cookies, Magic Cookie Bars, Peanut Butter Blossoms...or Mexican Wedding Cookies!
These beloved little snowball confections go by quite a few names. They're also called Russian Tea Cakes, or Wedding Cakes. We grew up making them under the name "Walnut Crescents", using the family recipe of a dear friend from our church with Italian heritage.
Whatever you call them, I still am inclined to argue that it's just not the holiday season without at least one batch of these delicious little cookies!
If you find yourself with extensive food sensitivities (like we do), this can be easier said than done. In fact, when I went looking for a great Mexican Wedding Cookie recipe that was gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, and soy-free, I came up really disappointed by the options.
So I did what I always do when allergen-free recipes for favorite foods don't deliver, and developed my own recipe. I'm so thankful I did, because honestly--this quick and easy recipe is just as easy as the one I grew up with, AND every bit as tasty.
The other important thing is that the texture is just right. Good Russian Tea Cakes (or whatever you call them) should delicately melt in your mouth, without falling to crumbles as you reach for them. These cookies pass that test!
You'll notice that in the recipe, I call for half walnuts and half pecans. I love this combination, but you can ABSOLUTELY use all walnuts, or all pecans. Any combination of those two nuts, that equals 1 cup, will work wonderfully.
You can also substitute up to half of the nuts with almonds, with good results. However, you'll need to add a tiny extra bit of water (about 1/2 teaspoon) to get the correct dough consistency if you substitute with almonds.
In the recipe, I call for vanilla, which is the traditional flavoring used in the various versions of this cookie. If, like me, you happen to be allergic to vanilla, I love flavoring these cookies with orange instead. You can either use 1tsp of orange flavoring, or use 3 drops of dietary orange essential oil along with 1 tsp of water.
I hope you adore this allergen-free version of these classic holiday cookies as much as we do! They're STILL one of my all-time favorite Christmas cookies, and it really isn't the holidays without them!
Gluten-Free Mexican Wedding Cookies
- food processor
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Add nuts to the bowl of food processor, and pulse just until well chopped.
- Add all remaining ingredients, (except the 2T powdered sugar for dusting). Pulse until mixture is well blended, and starts wanting to form a ball.
- Roll dough, a tablspoon at a time, into balls. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, and bake for 12 minutes, or until just golden.
- Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes, then gently roll in the remaining powdered sugar until each cookie is well-coated. Allow to cookies to cool before serving.