Pecan Sandies are melt in your mouth, buttery pecan perfection when it comes to cookies! These are also known as Mexican wedding cookies.
How to Make Pecan Sandies
This Southern cookie delight is buttery shortbread cookie that has finely minced pecans in them. You can roll the dough into a log, then refrigerate and slice, but you can also make them into shortbread ball cookies like Russian tea cakes. The difference ( as I talked about in the Russian Tea Cakes) is the nut that you use in them. Russian tea cakes have hazelnuts traditionally and pecan sandies obviously use pecans. It’s all about the region where the cookies are from and what nuts were originally available ( you can’t grow pecans in Russia, just saying.)
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together
the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the water and vanilla. Stir in the flour and pecans until well blended,
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 325 °F.
- Shape the dough into walnut sized balls.
- Place the dough balls 2 inches apart onto un-greased cookie sheets. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden.
- Cool on a baking rack, then roll in the confectioners sugar.
How to Make Mexican Wedding Cookies
The major difference is again, the nuts that you use but also the shape! Mexican wedding cookies traditionally use almonds and are shaped into crescent shaped cookies as you can see in the photo below. Mexican wedding cookies are also known Polvorones, which originated in Spain. The word “”polvo”” is actually the word for powder or dust, which of course is describing the powdered sugar.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the water and vanilla.
- Stir in the flour and almonds until well blended. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 325 °F.
- Shape the dough into crescent shapes, as they are more the traditional form of these cookies.
- Place the crescents 2 inches apart onto un-greased cookie sheets. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden.
- Cool the cookies on a baking rack, then roll in the confectioners sugar.
Baking Tips for Pecan Sandies & Mexican Wedding Cookies
- Some recipes have a crazy refrigeration time of 4 hours or even overnight, but honestly an hour is all you need to get this dough solid so that it stays in the ball shape while baking up.
- Some recipes use heavy chunks of pecans for pecan sandies while recipes like mine use finely chopped. When you use finely chopped pecans like in my recipe, these cookies will literally melt in your mouth, which is the point when it comes to pecan sandies. The more finely you chop those pecans, the more these will melt in your mouth.
- You are more drying out these cookies than baking them. When you are making a shortbread type cookie, high baking temperatures are going to dry the outside of the cookies ( especially when the cookies are in a ball shape) and then not dry out the inside. The secret to a melt in your mouth shortbread is that they are dried out all the way through. I like to set my oven to a lower temperature of 325 °F.
- You can roll the cookies in the confectioner’s sugar when they are still warm and have a sightly melted “icing” on the cookies. After the cookies cool completely, you can then roll them again in the sugar for a less sticky coating.
How to Freeze Pecan Sandies or Mexican Wedding Cookie Dough
You can also prepare the pecan sandies cookie dough and then freeze the cookie dough to bake up at a later date. Freezing cookie dough is easy and is a great way to save time for busy families on the go, you can pre-make a ton of dough and keep it in the freezer for when you need to use it
- Prepare the cookie dough according to the recipe instructions.
- To make cookie dough balls and freeze them, roll the dough into one inch balls. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and flash freeze for an hour or until they are solid.
- Place the balls into a sealed container or a bag.Cookie dough balls DO deteriorate in the freezer faster, I would only store them a month in there, tops.
How to Bake Pecan Sandies From Frozen Cookie Dough
Now that you have the pecan sandies cookie dough frozen, you can bake it up any time you want!
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the frozen dough on top, 2 inches apart and let them defrost. You do want the dough fairly cold when you bake them in order to keep the round shape.
- Preheat your oven to 325 °F.
- Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until they are golden brown and dried out like shortbread should be.
- Cool on baking racks.
Can I Freeze Baked Pecan Sandies?
You sure can! These are in my freezer as I type, waiting for Christmas! Simply store them in a freezer safe container with a lid and freeze for up to 3 months ( but I am sure they will be gone long before that!)
Happy baking! If you are looking for another shortbread recipe, make sure you try my Whipped Shortbread! It is our must-bake for Christmas!
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These delicious pecan cookies go by many names - Pecan Sandies or Mexican Wedding Cookies/Cake, but they are all the same buttery, melt in your mouth family favorite!
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 2 cup very finely minced pecans
- 1/2 cup powdered/confectioners' sugar
Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the water and vanilla.
Stir in the flour and pecans until well blended.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least four hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 °F.
Shape the dough into walnut sized balls or crescents. (Crescent shaped are more the traditional Mexican wedding form of these cookies.)
Place the dough balls or crescents 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden.
Cool on a baking rack, then roll in the confectioners sugar. I don't roll them when they are warm as they still will soak up the powdered sugar while cool and this way they don't get sticky.
- Use almonds in this recipe and shape the cookies into crescents to make Mexican Wedding Cookies