Whatever you call these powdery gems, they offer great textural and flavor components that will elevate the simplest of cookie trays. Sometimes referred to as Snowballs, Butterballs or Mexican Wedding Cakes, these cookies have no true allegiance to any one type of nut.
Truth be told, I have never tried these cookies until now because I thought they looked a bit dry and perhaps messy. Looks can definitely be deceiving because these cookies are elegantly composed and then dusted with sugar (not all that messy).
Recipes vary in specifying the use of walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts or even macadamia nuts. It is completely preference. I initially purchased (what I thought to be) coarsely ground pecans that turned out to be walnuts living in the wrong container of the bulk section. I imagine any chosen nut would provide an enticing outcome so, choose wisely and try not to eat too many.
Comment below and share your experience with Russian Tea Cakes! I am looking forward to using macadamia nuts next year!
russian tea cakes
1 cup butter, softened
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar (plus more for rolling cookies)
2 cups flour
¼ tsp salt
1 cup finely chopped walnuts, pecans or macadamia nuts
Preheat oven to 325˚ conventional (300˚ convection).
Sift the flour and measure again. Now, sift two cups of flour with the salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter. On low speed, add the vanilla then gradually add the half cup of confectioners' sugar. Turn speed up (KA 6) and beat until light and fluffy (2-4 minutes). On low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter. Stir in the finely chopped walnuts (or your choice) until combined.
Using a tablespoon scoop, shape the dough into one inch balls and place two inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly using the bottom of a glass. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges are very lightly browned. Remove the cookies from the baking sheets and roll in powdered sugar while still hot. Cool on wire racks and roll cookies again in powdered sugar before serving.
Recipe from Emeril Lagasse.