Baking Wednesday: Gluten Free Mexican Wedding Cakes

Our middle daughter was diagnosed this year as non-Celiac gluten intolerant. She doesn’t live with us anymore, but she does come by for dinner sometimes, and is often here to watch football on Sundays. And she will be here for Thanksgiving and our Christmas family get-together. I don’t plan to do all gluten free baking this year, but I did want to have some things she can eat. I decided to start my Christmas baking with some gluten free cookies.

I did a lot of reading and researching on baking gluten free cookies, and one of the ones I kept finding as a good one to work with was Mexican Wedding Cakes, or as they are sometimes known Snowballs or Pecan Logs (depending on how you shape them). Most of the sites I read said that these are a good cookie to make gluten free since they don’t so much depend on the wheat flour as the butter and pecans for their flavor and texture. It is easy to substitute one of the measure for measure gluten free baking mixes into your favorite recipe.

So, that’s what I did. I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Mix in the recipe I have used for these cookies for years. It worked well. The cookies are maybe a bit drier in texture than wheat flour would be, but the taste is fine, and they don’t seem to have too much of the graininess that I find in some gluten free recipes. I’d call them a success.

My notes: You have to be careful when these come out of the oven. They are really fragile, whether you use wheat flour or the gluten free mix. It doesn’t matter. It’s the butter that makes them delicate. They crumble easily, so be careful moving them from the pan. I usually don’t do the roll in confectioner’s sugar thing now. I move them from the baking sheet to a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, and sift the sugar over the hot cookies and then again after they cool. They are not completely coated all around with the sugar, but I don’t think it hurts them any and does cut the sweetness a bit. And, again, I used my disher to portion even amounts so the cookies bake evenly.

Gluten Free Mexican Wedding Cakes

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 cups gluten free measure for measure baking mix
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp. vanilla

Cream the butter until soft and light colored. Add the confectioner’s sugar gradually and beat well. Stir in the baking mix, pecans, and vanilla, mixing thoroughly. Scoop portions of dough and shape into balls or logs. Place on greased baking sheet about 1 inch apart and bake in 350 degree F oven for 25-35 minutes, until the bottoms are just browned. Remove from pan and roll in confectioner’s sugar. Cool completely and reroll in more confectioner’s sugar.

The image in the header is not my cookies. I forgot to take a picture before I froze them. The picture is from Kraft Foods, but it’s what the cookies look like after they are baked.

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