Snowy white, tender, nutty shortbread cookies make a toothsome treat at Christmas time. Russian Tea Cakes are known by several other names--Mexican Wedding Cakes, Snowballs, Melting Moments and I suppose another dozen or so names. It doesn't matter what they're called because they are so melt-in-your-mouth GOOD!
I wasn't long married when I came across this recipe in my old red Betty Crocker Cookbook. I was hooked at the first bite. Oh my, they were so good. I really like nuts in cookies and cakes and these just hit the spot for me.
Aunt Cora also loved these. She would request them at Christmas and kept them under lock and key so no one else could eat them. She'd dole them out and have one every day until they were gone. When you taste them you'll know why she did!
Russian Tea Cakes
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2¼ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup finely chopped nuts,walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, etc...your favourite
Extra icing sugar for rolling the cookies.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line an ungreased cookie sheet with parchment paper if you wish.
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together. Gradually work in the flour, salt and chopped nuts until the mixture holds together. Shape dough in 1-inch balls and place on the ungreased or parchment lined pan.
Bake 10-12 minutes until golden. Don't let these brown.
While cookies are still warm, roll in the extra icing sugar. The heat from the cookies will melt the sugar unto the cookies. Let cool and roll in the icing sugar a second time.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
The nuts should be quite fine. A food processor will give you a fine chop but you can do it with a knife and a little effort.
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together. Gradually add the flour, salt and nuts until everything is well mixed. It is important not to overwork the dough. Once everything is combined stop mixing.
Roll the dough in 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheet. This air pan is great for shortbread based cookies as there's not much chance anything will burn. You can, of course, use whatever pan you have. Lining with parchment or a silicone mat is optional. Whatever you use, it's not necessary to grease the cookie pan.
Bake until a nice golden colour.
Have a pan of sifted icing sugar ready. While the cookies are still hot but cool enough to handle without burning your fingers, roll them in the icing sugar. I like to sift the sugar right over the cookies. See how the sugar melts right onto the cookie.
When thoroughly cool, re-roll in extra icing sugar to give them a lovely, snowy covering. These cookies freeze well, but the sugar will not look as pretty. Before serving the thawed cookies sift a little icing sugar over the cookies to give them a just-made look.
Snowy white, nutty shortbread Russian Tea Cakes.