These Mexican Wedding cookies (also known as Russian Tea cookies), are a traditional cookie remade gluten-free and vegan here. And no, they require no Mexican wedding occasion to be enjoyed, and no Russian tea party either (although I'd happily partake in both! :) ).
If you're ever in the mood for a sweet, lightly buttery, delicate, soft and crumbly cookie, that's a little shortbread-like, and has a lovely hint of pecan flavor to it -- am I the only one who has those moods? ;) -- this cookie is for you.
Rather than going with chunks of pecans in the cookie (which I'm not opposed to by the way -- feel free to throw some more in if you like), I opted to grind the pecans down into a flour, so that each morsel of these cookies is imbued with pecan flavor. It also helps the gluten-free flour mix I used in these to taste good and have a good texture.
To replace the traditional powdered sugar that Mexican Wedding cookies typically get rolled in and dusted with, I went with my favorite powdered sugar substitute -- coconut milk powder.
And last but not least, and this is where things get a little "naughty" for me -- I used vegan butter in these to cut out the dairy. I usually try to avoid using it when possible (opting for more wholesome ingredients), however I found that it gives these cookies a lovely flavor and texture. Perhaps some form of pecan butter or cashew butter can be used instead here (you'll need to play around with the quantities a little -- here's an example of some pecan-butter based cookies as a starting point). I think the hint of vegan butter in each cookie here though makes these extra special and is totally worth it.
Delicious traditional Mexican Wedding Cookies -- sweet, soft and crumbly, a little shortbread-like, and filled with pecans. Vegan and Gluten-Free Recipe.
- ½ cup pecan halves
- ¾ cup white rice flour
- ¼ cup vegan butter* (room temp.)
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
- 2 tbsp maple sugar**
- less than a 1/16 teaspoon raw ground vanilla bean***
- ¼ cup coconut milk powder****
- Pre-heat oven to 350F. Line a cookie tray with some parchment paper and set aside.
- Process pecans into a fine nut meal in a food processor. Add all remaining cookie ingredients and process to combine everything together.
- Use a small cookie scoop, or simply gather about 1 ½ tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a ball. Place on the prepared cookie sheet, and repeat with remaining dough (you should get about 12 cookies), spacing them out roughly an inch apart.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. Then remove and cool the tray on a cooling rack for about 15-20 mins.
- Place the coconut milk powder into a small bowl. Roll / dip each cookie in the bowl to coat in the coconut milk. If you'd like, you can also place some of the remaining coconut milk into a little sieve and dust the cookies some more for a more powdery look. Enjoy!
*I used organic Earth Balance. My butter was soft but not melted -- that's the ideal state for these cookies. Note that I didn't add any salt to the recipe, since EB is already salted, but if you're using an unsalted vegan butter substitute you might want to add a little pinch of salt to the cookies.
**I used maple sugar here since it's mild in color, so the end result is closer to a traditional Mexican Wedding cookie. If you don't have access to maple sugar, feel free to use a dry sweetener of your choice. Just keep in mind that sweeteners like date sugar or coconut sugar will likely darken the cookies slightly.
***Or use ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
****Keep an eye out on the ingredients in the coconut milk powder, as some contain dairy as an additive. I used it here as a substitute for the traditional powdered sugar used to coat these types of cookies.