My Mom’s Pecan Shortbread Balls


OK, we normally just call these “Mom’s nut balls”, which sounds a little like an old SNL sketch, so let’s go with shortbread balls – although these are more commonly known as Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cakes. Regardless, they’re a must every Christmas. I like that they’re lower in sugar than other cookies – 1/2 cup powdered sugar is equal to about 1/4 cup of regular granulated sugar – they’re not enormous, are easy to “decorate”, and taste like Christmas. It’s one of those recipes that comes out once a year, and I’d never dream of making in May or August.

Sorry – this one’s short and sweet!

My Mom’s Pecan Shortbread Balls


December 20, 2016


1 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup icing sugar, plus extra for rolling

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

3/4-1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted


1Preheat the oven to 350F.

2In a large bowl, beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla for 2-3 minutes, until pale and light. Add the flour and salt and stir or beat on low until the dough starts together; add the pecans as you stir.

3Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place on an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until very pale golden. Place some icing sugar in a shallow bowl and roll the cookies in the icing sugar to coat almost as soon as they come out of the oven - while they’re still very warm. The butter will seep into the icing sugar, giving them an icing-like coating; if you like, roll them in icing sugar a second time, after they’ve cooled slightly.

4Makes 2 dozen cookies.


About Julie

6 comments on “My Mom’s Pecan Shortbread Balls

  1. Anonymous
    January 3, 2017 at 6:20 am

    what is icing sugar?

    • Julie
      January 3, 2017 at 6:57 am

      It’s what we call powdered sugar in Canada!

    • Anonymous
      December 15, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      or confectioner’s sugar

  2. Kate
    November 24, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Hi, what’s your mom’s name – I cannot save this recipe with this title – because my mom is not a baker (or even a cook). -K

    • Julie
      November 24, 2017 at 9:41 pm

      Ha! Her name is Meg. 🙂

  3. Anonymous
    December 18, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    Made these today for my neighbours. So lovely! Thank you for sharing ????

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.