Names can be deceptive; food historians believe that these treats didn’t start in Mexico at all, tracing their origins back to medieval Arab baking which emphasized nuts, sugar, and spices. It spread through European traders and eventually reached Central America by the 16th century. Of course, many other cultures have very similar sweets, given how simple and universally beloved the combination is.
You only need six simple ingredients to make these Mexican wedding cookies and there’s a good chance you probably already have all of them. For exact measurements, reference the recipe card at the bottom.
This step-by-step walkthrough shows the easy process of making Mexican wedding cookies. Exact times and temperatures can be found in the printable recipe card below.
1. Use a stand mixer to beat the coconut oil and powdered sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the flour, pecans, vanilla, and salt and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated.
2. Scoop the dough out in rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets. You can use a small cookie scoop for consistency, or two spoons. Lightly flatten the cookies to about ½ inch thick, using lightly moistened hands to prevent the dough from sticking. Chill for about 10 minutes so the cookies don’t spread too much in the oven.
3. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, rotate the pans, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until very lightly golden. Let rest for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
Gently toss the cooled cookies in powdered sugar, to coat. Enjoy!
Unlike most traditional cookie recipes, this one has never contained any eggs for binding. Instead, it relies on the fat to bring everything together. In this case, that means coconut oil, which should be melted to absorb the sugar and flour more easily. Make sure it’s cooled for a few minutes so it’s just warm, not hot.
As with any treat using standard flour, be careful not to over-mix the dough, which will make it tough, rather than soft and tender. Stir just until the batter comes together, without any pockets of dry ingredients remaining.
Golden-brown coloring is a good indicator of doneness, but you don’t want too much color on the top of the cookies; they only need a few minutes and can over-bake quickly. Pull them from the baking sheets once finished to prevent them from drying out.
Yes! You can use your favorite gluten-free flour blend instead of all-purpose flour for an easy 1:1 swap.
Go ahead, go nuts! Many common substitutes for pecans include walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, and peanuts. To make these cookies nut-free, you can use an equal amount of pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds,) or sunflower seeds.
Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the finished cookies should keep for about one week. The powdered sugar may absorb into the cookies over time, so you might want to toss them in a fresh coat before serving.
If you’d like a more traditionally buttery base, feel free to use an equal amount of vegan butter. Oils that are liquid at room temperature, like olive oil or avocado oil, wouldn’t work well in this recipe, and would result in rather greasy cookies instead of light and crisp ones.
This easy egg-less recipe for Mexican wedding cookies comes from The Gracias Madre Cookbook: Bright, Plant-Based Recipes from Our Mexi-Cali Kitchen by Gracias Madre. Gracias Madre means thank you, Mother in Spanish, and this L.A. Cali-Mexican eatery’s mission embodies just that—love for Mother Earth, reverence for all mothers, and a purpose to provide traditional Mexican cuisine made plant-based, using local, organic ingredients.
You’ll find 125 simple, entirely plant-based recipes for the home cook to make Cali-Mexican classics, including Calabaza and Onion Quesadillas, Tamales Verdes, Coffee Flan and of course these incredible Mexican Wedding Cookies.
Reprinted from The Gracias Madre Cookbook by Gracias Madre in arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2022, Gracias Madre. Photos by Amanda McGillicuddy for World of Vegan, all rights reserved. Thanks to our recipe testers Jessica Sabbagh and Anna Vuolo. Article written with support from Hannah Kaminsky and edited by Rachel Lessenden.