It was a great Foodblogger Christmas Party at mine at the very beginning of this month which not only brought seven lovely foodies to my house (Jeanne, Xochi, Jenni, Bonnie, Bill, Laura and Sarah) but also, equally importantly I should think, more than a dozen different varieties of cookies and other Christmas baking. The amazing display of biscuits included a fair amount of American cookies (chewy chocolate, double peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate & sesame, milk chocolate & hazelnut), some traditional English mince pies, some Norwegian chocolate & ginger snaps and these lovely Mexican Wedding cookies provided by Xochitl.
And there I was thinking that with two massive containers storing the left-overs of our indulging feast I would not need to do any more baking this year... but I soon came to realise that Christmas is not about having cookies in your house to consume, it's about baking them, in your own kitchen, letting the smell infuse every single corner of your abode! So I reached out to my friend and got a recipe off her - in cup measures, to my dismay! I managed to get the conversion right, in the end, after hours of tossing and turning over how much liberty I could take with the original quantities - but they turned out lovely. Very buttery, quite brittle (but they do soften and moisten after a few days in a container) and they are very moreish and Xmassy with Xochi's twist of using cranberries and almonds instead of pistachios and cherries... definitely a keeper!
Mexican wedding cookies (based on a recipe from Xochitl Ireland)
(forgot to count, but at least 40 cookies)
300 g butter (soft)
130 g icing sugar
30 g vanilla sugar
1 tsp salt
150 g roughly chopped almonds
125 g roughly chopped dried cranberries
600 g plain flour
Icing sugar for dusting
Beat the butter and sugars in a bowl until creamy and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients and work until well combined. The mixture will be very dry, ressembling breadcrumbs almost.
Using about 1 tbsp of the mass at each time, shape into ovals (Xochi described them as American footballs) - with the douhg being so dry, you will have to press firmly to make it stick together. I find taking the mixture and forming a firm fist around it works best - you can then smooth the surface to your liking.
Pre-heat the oven to 175C.
Place the cookies onto baking sheets lined with non-stick mats (alternatively grease the baking sheets) and bake in the oven for about 10 - 12 minutes, until only slightly starting to brown.
Remove from the oven, leave until cook enough to handle (less than 10 minutes), then roll in icing sugar and return to the baking sheet. Roll in icing sugar again and leave to cool completely.
These cookies keep very well in plastic containers or cookie tins, about 3 - 4 weeks.