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November 21, 2006

Out to Lunch—November 21, 2006

College is about delayed gratification. We convince ourselves that our physics problem sets and sociology readings will one day magically transform into some measurable form of happiness. This is nowhere more evident than at the U of C, where we flaunt our daily tragedies as proof of our inevitable joy.

Though I admit that this logic has plenty of practical value, I find some of its results completely absurd. First and foremost is our ridiculous obsession with denying ourselves the ecstasy of good food in hopes of achieving that mythical size zero figure.

As finals week approaches and those daily tragedies begin to mount, I say to hell with delayed gratification and recommend these Mexican wedding cakes as a first step toward a desperately needed mental transformation. What better way to embrace a philosophy of instant pleasure than to satisfy our most basic need with a food that does not contain Splenda? I suggest making these cookies with friends, and eating the whole batch over a few cups of hot chocolate and a conversation full of complaints about the rigor of our curriculum.

While making these cookies, it’s important to remember that the two-step powdered sugar topping process is key to its success. Layering once while the cookies are warm lets the powdered sugar melt and stick onto the cookie. The second layer is largely for presentation as well as added sweetness. I suggest using a small bowl for the powdered sugar so that you can bury each cookie in sweet indulgence.

I really enjoy these cookies just as they are, though a dash of cinnamon is a great addition. In the recipe, I use pecans because they’re my personal favorite, but walnuts and hazelnuts will work just as well. Also, don’t forget to toast the nuts—it really adds to the flavor and fragrance of the cookies.

Mexican Wedding Cakes

The Ingredients

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup powdered sugar (for topping)

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

The Directions