By Christie Vanover | Published January 25, 2011 | Last Updated December 28, 2022
I started the tradition of sending out Christmas treats to friends and family when an Army wife invited me to a cookie exchange in 1996. I had heard of cookie exchanges before and knew I should bake up a variety of sweets that would ship well, but it wasn’t until I went to the cookie exchange that I learned the value of presentation. My friend’s bon bons and cookies were all so beautifully individually packaged in shimmery cellophane and gorgeous bows. Then, they were all placed in just as amazing containers. Instead of frowning at my paper plate presentation, she helped me package everything up so beautifully. Thanks to my dear friend, I continue the tradition to this day.
The challenging part is figuring out what type of treat to make. My family always asks for Ritz peanut butter sandwiches dipped in chocolate, and my white chocolate-cranberry popcorn balls have become a staple. While I usually make some sort of shortbread, this year, I decided to make Mexican wedding cookies. They are a similar concept…about a 2-1 butter to flour ratio, but by adding ground almonds, they have a richness and a depth that goes one step beyond the sultriness and buttery goodness of traditional sweet shortbread.
Mexican Wedding Cookies
- 1 cup butter softened
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 tsp. Nielsen-Massey vanilla paste
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 2 tsp. water
- 2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
- 1 cup ground almonds ground in food processor
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Cream the butter and sugar, until smooth. Add the flavorings and water to moisten. Slowly mix in the flour and almonds until a firm dough forms. Form into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
- Remove from the fridge and pinch off enough dough to roll a 1-inch ball. Place on Silpat-lined cookie sheets and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. While they are still slightly warm, roll in powdered sugar and allow to cool completely before storing.
- I like to place three cookies in a cellophane bag. Tie it off with a pretty bow or a gold clip.
- Bon appétit!
The nutrition information is an estimate created using an online nutrition calculator