recipe

Around the world, these buttery, nutty cookies go by lots of different names: Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Sand Tarts, Polvorones, and more.

safety
  • Uses the oven
difficulty
  • Beginner
time
  • 50 minutes, plus 20 minutes cooling time
yield
  • Makes 24 cookies

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Prepare Ingredients

1 cup (4 ounces)
walnuts or pecans
1 cup (5 ounces)
all-­purpose flour
½ teaspoon
salt
8 tablespoons
unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened
¼ cup (1¾ ounces)
sugar
¾ teaspoon
vanilla extract
¾ cup (3 ounces)
confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

Gather Baking Equipment

  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Large zipper-­lock plastic bag
  • Rolling pin
  • Medium bowl
  • Whisk
  • Electric mixer (stand mixer with paddle attachment or handheld mixer and large bowl)
  • Rubber spatula
  • 1-tablespoon measuring spoon
  • Oven mitts
  • Cooling rack
  • Shallow dish
1
 

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

 
2
 
1 cup (4 ounces)
walnuts or pecans

Place walnuts in large zipper-lock plastic bag and seal, removing as much air as possible from bag. Use rolling pin to gently pound walnuts into very small pieces.

Even though this photo shows peanuts, the technique is the same!

 
3
 
1 cup (5 ounces)
all-­purpose flour
½ teaspoon
salt

In medium bowl, whisk together pounded walnuts, flour, and salt.

 
4
 
8 tablespoons
unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened
¼ cup (1¾ ounces)
sugar

Add softened butter and sugar to bowl of stand mixer (or large bowl if using handheld mixer). If using stand mixer, lock bowl into place and attach paddle to stand mixer. Start mixer on medium-high speed and beat until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Stop mixer and use rubber spatula to scrape down sides of bowl.

 
5
 
¾ teaspoon
vanilla extract

Add vanilla and flour mixture. Start mixer on low speed and mix until combined, about 45 seconds. Stop mixer. Remove bowl from stand mixer, if using. Use rubber spatula to scrape down sides of bowl and stir in any remaining dry flour.

 
6
 

Use your hands to roll dough into 24 balls (about 1 tablespoon each). Place dough balls on parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving space between balls.

 
7
 

Place baking sheet in oven. Bake cookies until tops are pale golden and bottoms are just beginning to brown, about 18 minutes.

 
8
 

Use oven mitts to remove baking sheet from oven (ask an adult for help). Place baking sheet on cooling rack and let cookies cool completely on baking sheet, about 20 minutes.

 
9
 
¾ cup (3 ounces)
confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

Spread confectioners’ sugar in shallow dish. Working with 4 cookies at a time, roll cookies in confectioners’ sugar to coat. Just before serving, reroll cookies in confectioners’ sugar a second time.