As part of my Christmas baking this year, I made these pecan shortbread. They go by many names–Mexican Mice, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Teacakes, Snow Balls.
I made them with pecans (some ground, some chopped) and a gluten-free flour blend. When they are hot, you carefully coat them with icing sugar. The steam from the cookies helps it stick. The last time I made them, over 15 years ago (!), my niece dubbed them Dusty Thingies, which fits.
This time, I used a different recipe–a version that increases the amount of nuts in the batter. I did like the increase in nuts. However, I also like the richness of my tried-and-true recipe (from Edna Staebler’s Food That Really Schmecks). I guess that means that I will be forced to make these again, after Christmas, to get the perfect butter:nut:flour ratio… Such is life.
I have memories of making a recipe for squares obsessively when I was a kid. I remember that they had butterscotch chips and nuts. I loved the squares, and I made them whenever I was allowed to.
Many years later, the obsessive part of my nature has not disappeared. I have been searching, on and off, for a recipe that seemed similar to what I remember for a few years now. I have a feeling that the recipe came from my mother’s old Good Housekeeping cookbook, which is now in storage. So, whenever I thought about, I would do a deep dive into the internet and see what I could find.
Well, I eventually found this recipe. Of course, I had to try it. I bought fresh pecans, which was the only critical ingredient I didn’t have on hand. I used a gluten-free flour blend for the crust, plus a little in the filling. They turned out beautifully. They are reminiscent of a butter tart—a loaded butter tart, that is. The nuts and coconut and butterscotch chips all boost the square into something that is very moreish. And snacking on them is easy, because they are so small. The recipe says you can get 64 squares out of a batch. I got 42 rectangles, none of which were huge.
I was a bit concerned that they might be really sweet—my tastes have changed since I was eight… But they were really great. The coconut and nuts tempered the sweetness. It probably helped that I used unsweetened coconut, too.
These would be great to take to a potluck, give as a gift or serve as a company dessert. And they were well-received by gluten eaters—my brother declared that they were “not maliciously gluten-free,” which is high praise coming from him.
I don’t know if this is the same recipe, but it sure seems pretty close. And I will be making them again. Conveniently, I have enough pecans for a second batch.