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White Mice

So the question immediately arises: “Why are these called ‘White Mice’?” The immediate bit of knowledge is that no mice were ever harmed or even present in the making of these cookies. That name was on them when I copied down the recipe from ….somewhere…. in pencil, on a piece of typing paper from Daddy’s IBM Selectric which he kept at home for preparing his Sunday School lessons and working on work from work. Credit? Well, no, I did not note the source. Just wanted to make them. And I still do.

Once grown I realized they are a lot like what are called “Mexican Wedding Cookies”,which I adore as well. The idea of making them red and green instead of white as in White Mice probably came from me, but again, lost in the sands and winds of time. These are extremely easy to make, and delightful to eat. Not extra sweet, just sweet enough, and a sandy texture. I usually use pecans because, well, I’m from around here, but walnuts are wonderful too. This morning I used walnuts cause that’s what I had.

You can use a hand mixer. You can use a big stand mixer. You can also mix them up using a big spoon. Kid helpers are a huge plus with these. I have done it both ways, and I always remember why this is my very favorite Go-To Cookie to go to for cookie-pleasures. Here’s what to do:

White Mice Cookies

Cookie Dough:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

1 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Before-Baking Decoration

Do this before you bake the cookies. It can be before you make the dough, or after you make the dough; that doesn’t matter. The dough can wait in the fridge for a day or two. Dough gets rolled into cookie balls, and these rolled in sugar, whether plain granulated, or colorful granulated sugar, right before baking each batch.) 

About 1 ½ cups granulated sugar

Red food coloring

Green food coloring

Divide the sugar between two jars with lids. Add about 5 drops of red coloring to one, and green coloring to the other. Shake very well until the sugar is evenly colored. Transfer to a shallow bowl or pie plate and use to coat the cookies. Or use white granulated sugar.

Lightly grease one or two large cookie sheets and set aside. Heat the oven to 300 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine flour and nuts and toss to mix well.

In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Using a mixer, beat at medium-high speed until they are evenly combined and well mixed. Add the milk and vanilla and beat them in well. Add the flour and nuts, and beat at low speed to combine everything evenly and well into a very firm dough. (You can use a big spoon, fork, and/or your hands to make this dough. Lots of jobs for helpers of any age).

Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place sugar (either plain granulated sugar, or red and green colored sugar, see directions) in a pie pan or wide, shallow bowl, and roll to coat each one evenly and well with the sugar. Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets. Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes. Carefully transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Makes 36 cookies (3 dozen)

Copyright Nancie McDermott 2012. All rights reserved.

About the Author
Nancie McDermott is a food writer and cooking teacher, and the author of ten cookbooks. Her passion is researching and celebrating traditional food in its cultural context, and her beloved subjects are two seemingly different places with much in common: the cuisines of Asia and of the American South. Nancie gained her Southern kitchen wisdom as a Piedmont North Carolina native,and her Asian culinary research commenced soon after college, when she was sent to northeastern Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer.

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