Mexican Wedding Cakes

These are a cookie that we make every year at Christmas time for as long as I can remember. It is similar to many of the “tea cake” cookies, but I’m not sure where my mother got the recipe.

Makes 36 cookies

1 cup butter
green food coloring
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup nuts, ground or chopped very finely
powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 325℉.
  2. Beat butter until fluffy.
  3. Add food coloring.
  4. Mix in remaining ingredients until well combined. The dough will be a little dry.
  5. Roll in 1/2 – 3/4″ balls (they will expand when baked). Place on ungreased baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.
  7. Remove from pan and roll in powdered sugar while hot.
  • You can omit the food coloring if you like, or use a different color, but we always color them green.
  • We usually use walnuts or pecans, but you can use any nuts you like. 

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Cranberry, Rosemary & Pecan Dip

adapted from Cheeky Kitchen

8 ounces Neufchatel cheese or cream cheese
1/4-1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt (depending on how thick you want it)
1/2 – 1 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped

  1. Combine the Neufchatel cheese, Greek yogurt and garlic until smooth. Add the cranberries and rosemary.
  2. Serve immediately or cover and store in fridge up to overnight – the flavor gets better over time.
  3. Sprinkle pecans over dip just before serving.
  • You can substitute 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped for the garlic powder. This was in the original recipe, but I used garlic powder so that I did not have any chunks of garlic.
  • You can mix the nuts in if you like, but I leave them until the end so that they stay crunchier.
  • You can used untoasted nuts, but toasting them for a few minutes in a skillet adds a lot of flavor.
  • The recipe was originally designed to be served with Kettle Chips, but I have only tried it with crackers. I have used Ritz and another unseasoned cracker. If I remember to buy some Kettle Chips, I will try that next time.

Spicy Toasted Pecans

recipe from Ceilia Haynes, a friend of my mother

1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
4 cups pecan halves
salt to taste

  1. Heat oven to 300 F.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan.
  3. Add Worcestershire & Tabasco, mix well.
  4. Remove from heat & add pecans. Stir at least 5 minutes to absorb all of the sauce.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Drain on paper towels. Salt to taste while hot.
  • NOTES

Amish Friendship Bread

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
5 oz pkg instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Lightly grease 2 large loaf pans. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  3. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pudding mix.  Make a well in the center.
  4. Add Amish Friendship Bread Starter, oil, milk, eggs and vanilla; mix well.
  5. Stir in nuts.
  6. Pour batter into pans.
  7. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.
  8. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Variations:

  • Lower fat: substitute ½ cup oil and ½ cup applesauce for 1 cup oil.
  • Apple Cinnamon: add 2 apples. peeled, cored and finely chopped when you add the nuts.
  • Banana Nut: reduce cinnamon to 1/2 tsp and add 3 large ripe bananas, mashed.
  • Chocolate: substitute chocolate pudding mix and “flour” the pans with cocoa – omit cinnamon or leave it in for a Mexican chocolate flavor, omit nuts if desired.
  • Lemon Poppy Seed: substitute lemon pudding mix, reduce cinnamon to 1/2 tsp, omit nuts and add 2 Tbsp poppy seeds.
  • Muffins: pour into greased muffin tins and reduce the baking time to 23-25 minutes.
  • Pistachio: substitute pistachio pudding mix and pistachios.
  • Raisin or Date: add 1 cup raisins or dates.

Mocha Silk Pie

adapted from The Pioneer Woman | Ree Drummond

My daughter, Marissa Davis Hefner, found this recipe for us & my daughter, Alycia Davis has modified it slightly.

Crust

1 cup pecans, toasted & finely chopped
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 oz semisweet chocolate, grated
2 Tbsp Kahlua

Filling

1 cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
1 Tbsp Kahlua
3 oz semisweet chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Directions

  1. Crust: combine pecans, brown sugar, and chocolate. Stir with a fork, then drizzle in Kahlua, stirring until combined. Press mixture into a pie pan, bringing it up the sides a bit. Do not bake. Set aside or refrigerate until needed.
  2. In small microwave safe bowl, melt 3 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate until stirable (about 45 seconds on high). Set aside to cool.
  3. Beat butter, sugar, instant coffee, and Kahlua until fluffy, about 1 ½ minutes. When melted chocolate is cooled, drizzle it into the butter/sugar mixture as it beats on medium speed. Add vanilla. Beat the mixture thoroughly until combined, scraping the sides if necessary.
  4. On medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating about 5 minutes after each egg.The sugar should be completely dissolved – no granules left.
  5. Pour filling into the pie crust.
  6. Smooth out the pie filling and place pie in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours (preferably longer).
  7. Serve with whipped cream and more grated chocolate.
For a nuttier flavor, we decided to toast the pecans. For a stronger mocha flavor, we increased the instant coffee granules (and changed to espresso powder) and Kahlua in the filling.