Edible pearlescent dust adds flair and elegance to these incredibly easy-to-make cookies. This recipe is based on a simple classic cookie, the Mexican wedding cookie (or Russian tea cake). I didn’t roll them into balls per tradition, I pressed them into lovely wedding themed shapes.
I used four of the 8 disks from the “Wedding” Cookie Press Disk Set by Impress! Bakeware™: the Wedding Bells, Diamond Ring, Dove, and Double Heart.
I absolutely adore Russian tea cakes. While making them over the holidays I realized just how similar the dough is to traditional spritz (cookie press cookie) dough. I experimented with blending the two, to retain the mouth watering flavor and unique texture of the tea cakes while maintaining the pressability needed to make great looking and easy-to-press shapes.
The result seemed perfect for wedding cookies so I’m delighted to bring these to you just in time for all those June weddings!
I grew up in Pittsburgh, where the wedding “Cookie Table” is tradition. I am delighted to offer this recipe- and the disk shapes- to give you all a quick and elegant way to add some pizzazz to your bridal showers and reception cookie tables.
(*NOTE: As of our 2019 Re-Opening our new disks are made of a solid white material, but the designs are exactly the same, and press identically. Our packaging and logo has also been rebranded. 😉 )
You will need the following ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups plus 3 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup finely ground pecans
extra powdered sugar for dipping
edible pearlescent dust
In order for this dough to be pressable through cookie press disks, the pecans must be ground very finely. I took a picture of mine with a quarter to give you an idea of what size pieces will work and what are too big. I’ll show you later what to do about too-big pieces if a few do wind up in your dough. I used a Magic Bullet to grind mine in small batches. Use a fork and your fingers to sift through them, picking out the larger chunks. It’s a little tedious but worth the effort to make pressing a breeze.
This is ground nicely:
These pieces are too big and will clog up your disks:
With all your ingredients gathered, preheat your oven to 385 degrees F. If you find that your cookies brown too much, especially on the dove wings, lower to 375 degrees. These cookies should come out looking slightly underdone. Unlike regular spritz which you want to begin to brown, it is not necessary with these and will actually affect the taste. So don’t over-bake!
To begin making the dough, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and ground pecans in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter. Add the sugar and cream it again. Add the vanilla and cream the mixture once more.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture a little at a time. at first the dough may seem crumbly.
Just make sure everything gets incorporated evenly. Then scoop it all together and you will see that it comes together nicely to form a soft, slightly dry dough.
Pack the dough into your cookie press barrel a spoonful at a time, packing it in with the back of the spoon as you go to remove any air pockets. You can also watch out for any pecan pieces that catch your eye for being too big.
Press the dough onto clean, dry cookie sheets. They must NOT be non-stick! Cookie press cookies stick to the pan as they are squeezed onto the surface. They will not stick to a non-stick pan. Once you get a feel for pressing, try to use a consistent rhythm to achieve consistent shapes.
Most presses these days are “one click per cookie” types. Often, though, depending on your dough or shape, something a little more or a little less than “one click” works best. Try to think of the pressing or squeezing action of your press as simply a pumping mechanism to get the dough out. If needed, stop squeezing or pressing the handle just before a full click for small delicate shapes like the dove or the diamond ring. Or squeeze a slight bit extra on a larger shape like the wedding bells. It isn’t a hard technique once you practice a bit!
I was very pleased at how clean the shapes came out with this dough. So long as the pecans are small enough, it presses very smoothly in sharply defined shapes.
If you start seeing things like this…
… your pecan pieces are too big! Unscrew your bottom ring of the press and remove your disk. Look into the dough at the bottom and you’ll probably see something like this: a few too-big chunks of pecan clogging up your shape. Remove them, reattach your disk, and just keep on pressing. And don’t feel bad. Obviously it happened to me, too. 🙂
Bake each pan of shapes for 6-8 minutes, removing as noted before they begin to brown.
Let the cookies cool on wire racks before decorating or applying the finishing powdered sugar on the bottoms.
To get the lustrous color on the cookies I used Wilton® Pearl Dust™ in gold and silver, brushing the dust on with food grade decorating brushes. Both are sold at local stores and not hard to find.
The technique that worked the best was dipping the brush tip about halfway into the dust and then tapping it onto the cookie surface. Brushing works fine, too, but tapping the dust onto the surface then brushing to spread it around worked better. It sticks to cookies a little bit differently that to fondant and such that it’s really meant for. But as you can see, with just simple application, the results are spectacular!
Here is how the cookies look plain:
Granted, they look lovely just like this! They would grace any table beautifully as they are. If you want that elegant effect, though, simply apply the dust. For such a fancy appearance, the technique is incredibly quick and easy.
Whether you choose to leave them plain or add the dust, the final step is to lightly coat the cookie bottoms in powdered sugar. This makes the taste of the cookies very authentic, as usually this type of cookie is rolled in powdered sugar.
Simply tap the cookies gently into a plate of powdered sugar. Holding them gently by their edges, lift them up, turn them over, and use a finger to wipe the sugar into a thin coating.
That’s it! Get creative with plates and platters and props to create an elegant look at your bridal shower or wedding reception.
Congratulations to all the brides and grooms out there, and as always Happy Baking to the cookie makers!
Disk Designer/Co-Owner at Impress! Bakeware, LLC
“Get creative with your cookie press!”
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The Wedding Disk set: