Gluten Free: Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies

I don’t think my mom could ever make these cookies fast enough – nor often enough for me. There is something magical about a cookie that melts in your mouth, don’t you think?

I made a few dozen of these cookies to share with my colleagues at an after school meeting (do 4 hours still count as a meeting? Or at what point can I call it “involuntary confinement”?). Our meeting was “postponed” at about 8:00AM (we were to meet from 3 – 7:00PM) and there I sat with 4 dozen cookies in a cookie tin on my desk.

“Oh, he** no,” I thought. “These things are NOT coming home with me! It’s just too much temptation for one woman to handle!”

So I promptly dug about in the cupboards of my classroom and found a roll of paper towels. I wrapped up several cookies in little cookies paper towel-“gift baggies” and sent a few students on errands to deliver the goodies. I promptly sat down to send a note apologizing for interrupting their morning classes but that there was no way I was heading home with 4 dozen cookies! One of my colleagues wrote back and said this: “Notes and phone calls are interruptions. Cookies are divine messages from heaven that I should savor my morning coffee.”

Yeap. I love her.

And she’s right. These are dang good with a great cup of coffee.

I made these with pecans, but you can use any kind of nut (walnut, hazelnut, almond, etc) that you like. I have never tried them with peanuts….so maybe not. I’d skip the peanut option, but hey – I’m not you. Pick your nut and go wild, I say.

When I converted this recipe to be gluten free, I added a bit more fat to give the cookie the right kind of crumble. The first few times I made them without adding the additional fat, the cookies crumbled alright, but in all the wrong ways. They would even break apart when I tried to toss them with the powdered sugar or would be too hard to bite in to. Not fun, I tell you.

This recipe rectifies those early attempts and is now my stand by. Mind you, I don’t make it often. I *AM* trying to get healthier, not more round. LOL

I hope you enjoy these cookies like my colleagues did! I saved a few for my morning coffee this week. Who would have thought that I could savor my morning coffee at home while watching the snow fall? Wahoo! Winter Break came three days early this year. Too bad I have to make up the days in June… I won’t be singing the joy then! LOL OH! But wait! June is wedding month! Maybe I’ll have another excuse to make some cookies then too! 😉

Don’t wait that long to try these. They really are tasty!

Gluten Free Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies
(Otherwise called Russian Tea Cookies)
Recipe makes 4 dozen 1-inch cookies

1 cup pecan halves
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted + 1 cup more for tossing
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/3 cup whipped cream cheese
2 teaspoons GF vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups + 2 Tablespoons sorghum flour, sifted (with the tapioca)
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons tapioca flour, sifted (with the sorghum)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum


  1. Toast the pecan halves over low heat until fragrant.
  2. Sift one cup of the powdered sugar.
  3. Process the toasted pecans and the 1 cup of powdered sugar in the bowl of your food processor until even and fine.
  4. Cream together the butter and cream cheese with the powdered sugar/pecan mixture.
  5. Add vanilla.
  6. Sift together the sorghum and tapioca flours.
  7. Add the xanthan gum to the sifted flours.
  8. Mix the dry ingredients in to the creamed/wet ingredients until it comes together as cookie dough (2-3 minutes on medium).
  9. Roll into 1″ balls and place the balls on a large plate.
  10. Refrigerate the 1″ balls for 30 minutes to 1 hour. (*NOTE: If you need to refrigerate them longer, please cover them with plastic wrap. You can freeze the balls at this point too, if desired.)
  11. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  12. Lay out the balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat about 1 1/2″ apart.
  13. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes (Mine bake for 13 minutes) and remove from the oven. Allow the cookies to cool 2-3 minutes before attempting to move them.
  14. Dredge the warm cookies carefully in powdered sugar. (I usually put a cup of powdered sugar into a baggie and then toss 4 or so cookies about in the sugar until well coated.)
  15. Allow the cookies to cool completely on a cookie rack. (See photo above.)
  16. Toss in powdered sugar again, if desired, before serving or packing in an airtight container.

Happy Cookie Baking All!

PS. Not in to cookies? Have you tried the pink oranges (Cara Cara Oranges) that are in the markets now? OH MY! They are so good! You won’t miss cookies this season if you taste them. Promise!


  1. Hooray! these are one of my absolute favorites!

  2. Kate,
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!! I’m thinking these little beauties will ramp up the Ho, ho, ho factor in my rather Bah Humbug-y household!! Feliz Navidad, amiga!!

  3. I HAVE to find a non-refined substitution for powdered sugar. There are way too many treats that require it, and that I, then can not eat. Any ideas, maybe from other readers?

    • Hi Zebe912,

      Someone I know can’t have any cane sugar or gluten and I have done a lot of cooking for them, so I know about this problem. There are a few options. You will need a clean coffee grinder. If you don’t want the powdered sugar to be from cane, pulse granulated fructose until it is that powdered sugar consistency. If you don’t mind using cane sugar, you can do the same thing with turbinado sugar. Using this works pretty well in icing and baking recipes.

      Good luck!

    • you could use powdered stevia….that’s what i’m gonna try : )

  4. My daughter and I made these yesterday. I would have never thought of including them in our Christmas cookie tray. They are delicious! I need to stop sneeking one from the freezer. If I’m not careful, that one turns into two….
    Thanks for the great recipe. We love them!


  5. How timely are these? DH was commenting yesterday how in previous years I made “goodies” and it wasn’t looking like he would get any this year. I used to make these hazelnut or pecan crescents, but haven’t found any GF recipes yet for a substitute… until now, that is. Thank you – I’m looking forward to surprising DH.

  6. Kate,

    I tried your oatmeal cookies. They are fabulous! I’m wondering how you store them. I dipped them in chocolate and then in coconut. So I’m not sure if freezing would be a good idea. Do you think they will keep okay at room temperature until Christmas?

    Thanks for the great recipes and for the inspiration to bake. Yesterday was the first time I’ve had oatmeal cookies since going GF almost 3 years ago.


  7. Oooh, these are one of my favorite cookies, I can’t wait to plow through the snow and get to the store for the pecans. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I would love to be one of your colleagues and have these arrive via student express. 😉 I bet you made a lot of people happy that morning! I used to make this type of cookie back in my gluten days, but I calld them Swedish Pecan Balls. I’ve heard them called other names, too. I haven’t had them since going GF, so I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  9. Wanted to add that I was just reading this month’s issue of Living Without and they have a nut-free version of the Mexican Wedding Cakes where you use finely chopped roasted sunflower seeds. 🙂

  10. I made these yesterday. At first I thought they were a failure: very crumbly and almost chalk/dust-tasting. I decided to cool them a bit longer before rolling in sugar and them cool completely before handling. Much better. I actually left a whole plate uncovered overnight and they held together beautifully !! The texture improved as well. Even DH liked them. He actually said: “These are GF?” with a skeptical note in his voice. I was afraid he would follow with “These are not that good..” but he liked them !!! Whoopee !! My 4 year old liked them, too. Thanks for a keeper recipe !!

  11. Amanda Phillips says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe!!!

    I have been craving these since the last time I had them (9 year ago!)

    I didn’t have the same flours available, so instead I substituted 1 1/2 cups Brown Rice Flour, 1/4 cup oat flour (for extra nuttiness), and 1/4 cup soy flour.

    I worried the results would fall flat, but they are terrific! Just the way I remember the non-GF treats I used to enjoy. This was a total godsend!

  12. These are delicious!! Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Thanks for the recipe – always useful to have unusual ones as someone is bound to ask for it one day.


  1. […] Free Gobsmacked graces us with her recipe for another pecan-heavy cookie, Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies. I love these with tea in the winter. And the summer. She uses a sifted mix of tapioca and sorghum […]

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