Russian Tea Cakes are also known as "Mexican Wedding Cookies" and "Snowballs", but whatever name you want to give them, they're one of the most beloved special-occasion and Christmas cookies!
When I go on my annual Christmas cookie baking frenzy, these are the ones I make in several batches all at once. They are always the most popular, so they're the first to disappear. They are perfectly sweet and vanilla-y; they practically melt in your mouth and go great with a cup of coffee for dessert.
Last night I made three batches of them - so much that I had to use a large metal cooking pot because none of my mixing bowls were large enough! (Pic below). I love recipes that don't require fancy gadgets and get down to the basics of baking, exactly like this one.
These are already a time-consuming cookie to make, so the recipe below is for one good batch.
- 1 cup butter (2 standard sticks), softened
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped or crushed
- 1 tsp. salt
- Extra confectioner's sugar
- Preheat oven to 400 degree F (204 C).
- Crush the walnuts finely. I put them in a sandwich baggy and crush them by hand with a meat tenderizer. But if you're in the 21st century with a food processor, that's the best option! Dear walnut companies - please sell bags of crushed walnuts :)
- Cream the butter, 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
- Add the flour, walnuts, and salt. Mix well until a soft dough forms.
- Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place about 1/2 an inch apart on a baking sheet. These cookies are okay to place close together (but not touching) because they do not spread.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, depending on your oven.
- Check the bottoms for a very light brown color, and they are done!
- Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Wait about 5 minutes.
- While the cookies are still slightly warm, roll each one in confectioner's sugar to coat thoroughly.
- Once completely cooled, you may coat them in another layer of confectioner's sugar, but I've found this to be too much. It's up to you!
These make a lovely gift for family, friends, or the workplace. But please make sure no one has a walnut allergy!
The large pot of ingredients about to be mixed!