As part of their wedding present I really wanted to bake them something nice to let them know how grateful we were about being invited to share their very special day. I remembered that I'd seen a recipe for some Mexican Wedding Cookies in our Thomasina Miers book which looked really nice and seemed very similar to the Peruvian Alfajores I used to buy from the corner shop when I lived in Lima.
A little bit of research led me to discover that these shortbread-esque cookies are actually eaten on all types of special occasion in Mexico and you can actually get your mitts on them all year round so not really wedding cookies per se. However they're often referred to as this by the rest of the world because they are traditionally given out at Mexican weddings as favours in little boxes with a little message inside. Turns out that the favours at Iain and Dani's wedding were actually shortbread too!
Thomasina's recipe produced some really lovely buttery bicuits which had a bit of a luxurious feel to them. We were glad there were some leftover for us to munch on the day after the wedding when we were feeling a little worse for wear. I'm really pleased that we decided to bake something for the bride and groom as Iain messaged us the next day to thanks us for making an "extra special effort" with their present. Yay! I'd like to take this opportunity to wish the newlyweds a very happy marriage and we hope they are enjoying their amazing honeymoon in Thailand!
A tin of condensed milk
70g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
310g plain flour
1 tbsp rum
Zest of 1/2 an orange
100g chopped walnuts
To make the dulce de leche, preheat the oven to its maximum temperature, then pour the condensed milk into a small glass or ceramic oven dish. Take another, larger oven dish and put the small oven dish in the centre of it. Pour water into the larger oven dish until it is most of the way up the smaller oven dish - creating a bain-marie. Cover the condensed milk oven dish with foil and place in the oven.
In all honest I can't remember exactly how I left this condensed milk in the oven but it was ages - most of the Olympics opening ceremony so a good few hours. I took it out occasionally and gave it a good stir but basically you'll know when it's done as it will go brown and will look like thick caramel. I left mine a touch to long so it went a bit clumpy but tasted good.
To make the biscuits cream the butter, sugar and salt together. Add the flour and mix just until a stiff dough forms, then work in the rum, orange zest and walnuts.
Divide the dough into two balls and roll each ball into a sausage shape but that is flat on the ends. They need to be about 3cm thick.
Slice cookie shapes about half a centimetre thick off the end of the sausages and place onto baking trays lined with baking paper. Put the baking trays in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Take the baking trays out of the freezer and bake the cookies for 20 minutes. They'll be set and have quite a shortbready texture and like shortbread shouldn't have much colour on them. Leave to cool.
Get a plate and pour a load of icing sugar on it. Toss the cookies in the icing sugar until they're nicely coated.
Put a blob of the dulce de leche in between two of the cookies and push them together to make a sandwich.
Pack up the cookies in a lovely box to give to the bride and groom!