Thursday, December 20, 2012

Russian tea cake cookies

I love the full sensory experience that is Christmas- the sights, sounds, smells and tastes that speak to me, "It's Christmas time!" I think each person has their package of cues about the holiday's and it's fun to learn them about each other- favorite traditions, cookies, Christmas movies, etc. I look forward to the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree accompanied by the fresh pine smell. The first morning I wake up and smell my Christmas tree, then I know it's Christmas.
Not surprisingly, I also love the tastes of Christmas. Specifically, the once-a-year phenomena of the Christmas cookie.
I have been lucky this year to get to do quite a bit of baking. Not every year turns out like that. Over the next few days I hope to share a few of my favorite cookie recipes- some are classics and some are new.
I thought I would kick things off with what is by far my favorite Christmas cookie: the Russian Tea Cake. When I see this powdered sugar ball on a cookie plate, it is always the first one I reach for. I love the buttery, subtle nuttiness of this cookie and the way the powdered sugar melts into an almost glaze. I also love how the powdered sugar mess created from eating one of these cookies can bring out a kid-like quality in each of us.
The recipe below is from Betty Crocker.

Russian tea cakes

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powderd sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
1/4 teaspoon salt
powdered sugar

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2) Cream butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.

3) Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

4) Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on a wire rack.

5) Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. Roll in powdered sugar again.


  1. Nichol,
    I just made this very recipe today from my mom's old recipes! They are my favorites too. I share your sentiments.
    Merry Christmas to you and your whole family.
    Your kindergarten teacher!

  2. Jan- so fun to find your note this morning!
    I have such wonderful memories of your classroom. Around this time of year I recall our little kindergarten class shaking jars of cream to make butter for the school Thanksgiving feast.
    A very Merry Christmas to you and your family :)