Keto Mexican Wedding Cakes 👰🏻
i.e. Russian Tea cakes/Polvorones/Snowball Cookies
These gluten free and keto Mexican wedding cakes are some of the easiest (and yummiest!) keto cookies around. Think just 5 ingredients and a handful of easy-peasy steps. The result? Melt-in-your mouth and totally aromatic cookies.
In fact, these guys are some of the best Christmas cookies around the block. You’ll know what we’re talking about as soon as you take the first bite. After all, it really is no wonder these unassuming cookies are worldwide favorites.
The Deets 🔍
These might just be the cookies with a thousand names (Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cakes, polvorones, snowball cookies…). And their actual origins are very much muddled throughout history. With an almond version found in Russia, to a pecan one (with a light cinnamon sprinkle) hailing form Mexico.
This keto version here is true to the Mexican origins (we’re half Mexican after all!). And down here, these scrumptious little cookies are known as polvorones. Which literally translates into crumbly ones. i.e. they’re supposed to crumble easily, even when held (which is why you’ll often find them wrapped up in colorful papers… all crumbled up inside!).
So the lack of gluten actually works in your favor here, and this version might just be easier than the original (where you have to be very careful with overworking the dough and developing gluten = hard cookies). You want them to actually melt in your mouth, rather than bite through them. And this keto version does just that.
And feel free to make them small (24 a batch) or large (12-15). These will also spread somewhat during baking, true to the original version from south the border here.
Mexican wedding cakes are traditionally a wheat cookie, with either pecans (the Mexican version) or almonds (the Russian version) thrown into the mix. So to make them gluten free and keto, we cooked up a version of the two and use both almond flour and finely ground pecans (i.e. pecan flour).
And you must toast the nut flours beforehand, something which is missing from most mainstream versions. This is, in our book, the thing that makes polvorones be, well, polvorones. The moment the toasted nut flours are incorporated with the butter, the distinct aroma of the polvorones emerges. Pure magic really. ✨
Oh, and no xanthan gum or anything else required here, as we actually want the cookies crumbly and soft.
The Sweetener 🍯
The cookies themselves are lightly sweetened, to take into account the powdered coating after baking. The original version calls for 1/4 cup for the cookies themselves and 3/4 cup for the coating, to give you an idea of the exorbitant ratios.
Having said that, we find that 2 to 4 tablespoons are more than enough to get the coating job done right. Think a light sprinkle on top, rather than an allover roll (which is simply too sweet for our tastebuds). Powdered Swerve or xylitol work best for the coating, and we’re also very keen on a pinch of cinnamon here.
However, for the cookies themselves, Swerve or Pyure are the sweeteners of choice. But they must be powdered. Xylitol takes forever to dry out, so you end up with chewy cookies for aaages (think up to a day!).
So get your blender out, make sure it’s completely dry, and process your sweetener of choice until powdered. Just make sure you wait a few moments for the dust to settle before opening the blender or food processor.
Or you can always grab a bag of Powdered Swerve (i.e. confectioner’s).
And if using xylitol, make sure to be careful if you have a pup around the house, as it’s highly toxic to the little guys! 🐕
Gluten Free & Keto Mexican Wedding Cakes
- Add pecans to a food processor and process until finely ground, being careful you don't over-blend or you'll end up with pecan butter!
- Add pecan flour and almond flour to a skillet or pan, and toast over medium heat until golden and fragrant (3-6 minutes). Remove from pan, whisk in salt and set aside to cool completely (very important!).
- Cream butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, 2-3 minutes. Add in sweetener and continue to beat until thoroughly mixed and much of the sweetener has dissolved. Add in vanilla extract and beat until just combined.
- With your mixer on low, add in half of your nut flour mixture- mixing until just incorporated. Mix in the rest.
- Wrap cookie dough with cling film (saran wrap) and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Divide dough into either 24 small rounds or 12-15 if doing larger cookies. Place shaped cookie rounds on the prepared baking tray and place in the freezer for 15 minutes prior to baking.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes for the small ones or 17-20 minutes for the larger ones. The cookies will be deep golden, but very soft and fragile to touch. Sieve a touch of powdered sweetener with cinnamon on top immediately (it'll dissolve into the warm cookies).
- Allow to cool for 15 more minutes before adding more powdered sweetener. The cookies will become less fragile as they cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.