Pecan Shortbread Cookies (Mexican Wedding Cookies)


This is a twist on the traditional pecan shortbread cookies, with a little fresh orange juice and zest added to the mixture. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Additional Time:
3 hrs 10 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 55 mins
24 cookies


  • 1 cup butter, softened

  • ½ cup white sugar

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed orange juice

  • 1 teaspoon water

  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated orange zest (Optional)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup very finely chopped pecans

  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar


  1. Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract, orange juice, water, and orange zest; beat until blended. Add flour and pecans and mix with a spoon until blended but crumbly. Cover and place in the refrigerator until chilled, 3 hours to overnight.

  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

  3. Scoop up about a golf-ball-size of dough and press together into a ball. Flatten and smooth the edges, making sure the dough is firm and not flaky or crumbly, or else cookies will not rise or expand as they bake. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

  4. Bake in the preheated oven until edges are golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute before removing to a wire rack to cool, 8 to 10 minutes more.

  5. Sift some confectioners' sugar into a small bowl. Drop a cookie into the sugar, shake the bowl, flip the cookie, and agitate again to cover in sugar. Repeat with remaining cookies, adding more sugar as necessary.

Cook's Notes:

Only use freshly squeezed orange juice and fresh or frozen orange zest (the dark part of the orange skin). A medium orange will easily yield the juice and zest required. Grate the orange with the fine part of a grater down to the lighter part of the skin.

Be sure to finely chop the pecans almost to a powder. You want the flavor and texture, but the size of the nuts needs to be small.

When the dough is initially made it will appear crumbly. Chilling the dough keeps the butter from blending completely with the flour and results in the "shortbread" texture of the cookie.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

168 Calories
11g Fat
16g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 24
Calories 168
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 55mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 8mg 1%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 35mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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