The winter holidays are filled with traditions. Growing up a lot of those traditions included food. Tons of food. And when I say “food” I mean “dessert.” Cookies specifically. Sugar cookies, thumbprints, peanut butter stars, chocolate covered pretzels, pecan tassies, chocolate drops, chocolate crinkles, candy cane cookies, and – a huge favorite – Russian tea cakes.
Russian tea cakes are also known as Mexican wedding cookies. I don’t care if you have them because it snows or because you are getting married, you should eat them.
They are so easy to make it’s a crime. And they are delicious enough to get you out of multiple crimes. I know when I make them for Mark I can do no wrong.
Russian Tea Cakes
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup of sifted powdered sugar
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- 2 & 1/4 cups flour
- 3/4 cup very finely chopped nuts (pecans or hazelnuts are delicious)
- More powdered sugar for rolling
In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the butter and powdered sugar. If you use a mixer, beat them together on low or you will have powder sugar on every surface of your kitchen. Once they are well combined add the vanilla and mix.
Then add the flour and salt to the bowl. Beat on medium speed until all the flour is just incorporated. Then add the nuts and beat on low until everything is well combined.
At this point test the dough with your finger. If it is sticky refrigerate it for about 2 hours. It will be easier to work with then. If it isn’t sticky go right to shaping and baking.
Preheat the oven to 400F/204C.
Having an ungreased cookie sheet at the ready, start rolling the dough into 1-inch balls. Don’t be temped to go big here. They should be bite-sized. Maybe 2 bites at the biggest. Place the balls about 1-inch apart on the cookie sheet and back for 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies should be set, but not brown. This is kind of tricky and you need to be patient. The cookie should be firm to the touch when you poke it, but still remain sort of white.
Straight out of the oven, roll the cookies in powdered sugar. This will be hot work. You can use two forks if you start burning your fingers. Put them on a cooling rack.
When they are totally cool, roll them in powdered sugar again. They look like little snowballs!
And this is why we want them bite-sized! The powdered sugar can be a little messy. 🙂
They are wonderful treats for parties and just right for snacking at tea. I hope they will become a part of your holiday family traditions!