Russian Tea Cakes

ImageThese delightful little cookies have been a staple in my family’s Christmas cookie repertoire for probably forever. I’ve been making them for several years. Once, when I was probably 12, I decided that I would double the batch and, because I was such a crafty 12-year-old, add some chocolate shavings into the mix. But when I finished making the dough, something was off. It was waaayyy too sticky. Practically frosting status, when it should have been crumbly. I was confused.

ImageThen my mom asked how much butter I’d added to the dough and it turned out, I’d somehow managed to quadruple the butter. Don’t ask me how. I have no clue. Because that would require eight sticks of butter. Eight. Two pounds. I can’t even remember there ever being that much butter in the fridge at the same time. Though I guess it was there because of it being Christmas cookie season, and all.


Anyway, that two pounds of butter made quite a few cookies. For some reason I’d also decided to make them small that year, and I got so bored rolling all the little dough balls out. Plus, my fancy chocolate shavings were diluted by the 4-times-as-much-as-usual everything else in there. I haven’t tried altering the recipe since the Quadruple Batch of ’04, but it really doesn’t need any altering. It’s perfect just the way it is.

Your ingredients.


Nuts get chopped. Sugar and butter get beaten. Flour gets mixed in.




Dough. Oven. Powdered Sugar. Done.




You might know these as Mexican Wedding Cookies or Snowballs. Either way, they’re wonderful.

Russian Tea Cakes

Makes 1 1/2 to 2 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus about 1/3 cup more for rolling

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl by hand, cream the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add in the flour gradually, mix to combine completely. Mix in the salt.

Stir in the pecans. The dough may not come together completely, but that’s okay. When you roll the dough into balls, they will hold together.

Roll dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons each, and place on prepared cookie sheet 1-2 inches apart. They won’t spread, so they can be pretty close together. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Roll in powdered sugar while still hot (or be lazy like me and use a fine mesh strainer to sprinkle them with powdered sugar).

These keep very well at room temperature and are also great frozen.


2 Comments on “Russian Tea Cakes”

  1. mydearbakes says:

    This post just made my day! Loving your splendid looking bake! =)

  2. rubypearlmt says:

    Russian tea cakes are a favorite of mine, too. Unfortunately, we also had a lab that rather enjoyed them as well.

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