I like to call them Russian Tea Cakes since I've been to Russia and not to Mexico, but they are also called Mexican Wedding Cakes, Snowballs (which is appropriate with all the snow on the ground), and many other names. It is funny a cookie is called so many different things, but people all over seem to love them. The first time I remember eating one is out our local natural food store which was the only place for a long time where one could buy vegan cookies in this town. Unfortunately, the novelty of being able to buy a cookie meant that most of the visits to this store (sometimes twice a week) would result in buying a cookie. They usually had several different types of vegan cookies, but this one is Dema's favorite.
So, when I saw the picture and recipe in my new cookbook, The Joy of Vegan Baking, I knew this was the first recipe I needed to try. I mistakenly thought the cookies might have some nutritional value when we bought them at Strawberry Fields because they included nuts in the ingredients. One look at the recipe and I realized why people bake these for special occasions...they are a nutritionist's nightmare. I used the equivalent of a year's worth of Earth Balance, sugar, vanilla, and walnuts (I didn't have pecans on hand) and then more sugar. I couldn't find my nut chopper so I chopped them with a knife (much more time consuming).
These are so easy to make. The key is to not let them cook too long and I was not working in my own kitchen so I let the first batch go a little too long since I wasn't used to the oven. The second batch was much better, but the kids liked them both. The nice thing about cookies that are so rich is you can't really sit there and eat a whole lot of them. (Unless you are Dema.)
We are trying to create our own family traditions for the holidays since we are always trying to cut down on the consumerism which seems to go hand-in-hand with this time of year. We thought we would start making some special foods which we only cook this time of year. The kids love to cook and this could be more of the focus than presents. We'll see. We are still feeling it all out.