Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mexican Wedding Cookies

For some recipes, there is only so much you can do to make them healthier. This is one of them. Of course, once you taste one of these melt-in-your-mouth morsels, you really won't care...

So here's the breakdown: These cookies do have a fair amout butter. However, it's half a stick less butter than most Mexican Wedding Cookies, plus this recipe incorporates whole wheat flour, uses heart-healthy pecans, and has less than half a cup of sugar. So butter aside, they're not horrible for you. And besides, a little extra butter every now and then does a body good.

Toasting the pecans is key, so don't skip that step! It lends such a wonderful nutty flavor and aroma that you won't regret it.

Mexican Wedding Cookies
1 cup pecan halves
12 tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp + 1/3 cup unsifted powdered sugar, divided
1-1/2 cup all purpose flour
6 tbsp + 2 tbsp whole wheat flour, divided
1/4 salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg or cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread out pecans on baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes, or until fragrant.

In a food processor, combine the pecans and 2 tbsp whole wheat flower. Process until finely ground, and set aside.

In the microwave, soften the butter until almost melting. In a medium bowl with a mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and 6 tbsp sugar until well combined and light. Add the egg white and vanilla, and beat until well combined.

In a small bowl, combine the flours (the all purpose + the remaining 6 tbsp whole wheat), salt, cinnamon, and nuts. Add this to the wet ingredients, and stir until combined.

Divide the dough into 3 separate sections, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F (unless you left it on while dough was refrigerated). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Taking out one section of dough at a time, roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

When first sheet is full, go ahead and bake for 11 minutes. Meanwhile, roll cookies for the other baking sheet. When cookies are done, let them cool for about 5 minutes (instead of transferring to a wire rack, I just slide the parchment paper off the hot baking sheet and onto the cool counter).

Put in the next batch and while they are baking, roll the cooled cookies in the 1/3 cup powdered sugar. When second batch comes out, let them cool and roll in remaining sugar (after both batches are rolled, there will still be some leftover).

Yield: 46 cookies
70 calories per cookie



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