Gluten-Free Mexican Wedding Cakes with Dried Cranberries

My son had multicultural week at his school and I volunteered to help out. I thought about what I had to offer: I’m Mexican, I bake, I’m a writer. OK, I decided to bake Mexican Wedding Cakes and write about their history.

I scoured the internet and found…nothing!! There’s no history to Mexican Wedding Cakes. There’s no cute story about a Mexican wedding or some dramatic link to history. I knew the cookies were basically the same as Russian Tea Cakes and a slew of other nut and butter cookies, but I thought they had to have some story behind them. Not the case. They just started appearing in cookbooks in the 1950s for no dramatic reason whatsoever.

That story would not enthrall the children, so I decided to do a straight cooking demonstration and talk to the kids about why the cookies are a big part of my family’s holiday tradition.
Every Christmas my mom would make these delicate little cookies with butter, powdered sugar, flour, pecans, and vanilla. We would roll them into little balls and drop them onto the cookie sheet. You’re supposed to wait until the cookies are cool before you roll them in powdered sugar, but we rarely did. I only liked them if they were warm and the powdered sugar was moist like frosting.

After we made the cookies, the entire extended family would come over and we’d have a late dinner. The kids would unwillingly go to midnight mass and when we came home we’d open our presents. (While at mass, All I could think about was that someone was breaking into our house and stealing the presents, like in that episode of “Eight is Enough.”) It was the best night of the year, I told the kids, because we were allowed to stay up all night, eat cookies, and play with toys.

The cookies I made for my son’s school were very different than the ones I grew up with. I made them gluten-free, vegan, and without nuts. I used dried cranberries and Earth Balance vegan butter. They came out delicate and buttery and the kids seemed to like them.

After the demo I read my new favorite Christmas book, N is for Navidad, by Susan Midlleton Elya and Merry Banks. It’s illustrated by Joe Cepeda, who also did Mice and Beans, another favorite around here.

Here’s the recipe. Happy Holidays!

Yvonne's Gluten-Free Goodies

Attention fans of Yvonne’s Gluten-Free Goodies. There will be two great opportunities to catch us this weekend and get some tasty gluten-free goods. On Sunday, we’ll be at the Mar Vista Farmers’ Market from 9 to 2pm with agave muffins, cupcakes, and Mexican Wedding Cookies. I’ll also have lovely gift jars filled with cookie mix or brownie mix that will delight any treat-lover on your holiday shopping list.

But the goodies don’t stop there. Later on Sunday, you can come by the Treehouse Social Club from 3 to 6 pm for the fabulous Help a Mother Out Holiday Playdate. The admission “fee” is a donation of a pack of diapers that will go to needy families (Huggies has agreed to match donations up to 3,000 diapers). It will be a great time for a great cause. The kids will enjoy the indoor playgym while you sample some gluten-free cupcakes and cookies. If you’re interested in attending the playdate there’s still time to RSVP to or 818-317-5507.

Mostly Green Majorly Cool Gift Boutique

Yvonne’s Gluten-Free Goodies will be one of the many fabulous vendors participating in a local gift

boutique this Sunday, Dec. 6 from 1 to 6pm. Check out the jewelry, baby gear, home decor, gluten-free gift baskets, and much more. Also, kids 5 and up can help make a special present at the gift making workshop.

The boutique will be at 3961 East Boulevard, Los Angeles 90066, the home of interior designer Sam Chapin of Slow Design.

Hope to see you there!

Mar Vista Farmers' Market

Dress the kids in costume and come on over to the Mar Vista Farmers’ Market for the Halloween Festival. You can enjoy some gluten-free goodies while you watch the costume contest and family dance jam (i don’t know what this, but it sounds quite exciting). The market, on Grandview and Venice, starts at 9am and ends at 2. I’ll see you there!