No matter what the name – Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cookies, Italian wedding cookies, butterballs – this crumbly, rich cookie has graced many a dessert tray at Christmas time in the United States. And it was no different in our home when I was a child.
Here's a Russian tea cake recipe from Grandma (Tudi) Marr's recipe collection. This well-worn card is from my recipe index box, and I've provided additional directions below.
Preparation Time: About 15 minutes for preparation; 2-4 hours for chilling dough, 15-20 minutes to roll dough, 8-10 minutes baking; 15-20 minutes to coat. Total 2-5 hours.
1 c salted butter, softened to room temperature
1 c confectioner's (powdered) sugar, divided
1 t vanilla
¼ t almond extract
2¼ c flour
¾ c finely chopped walnuts and/or pecans
Beat together butter and ½ c sugar. Add vanilla and almond extract. Mix in flour until dough holds together. Fold in nuts. Shape dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap or wax paper; chill in refrigerator 2-4 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 °F (350 °F for convection), placing rack in center of oven. Place remaining powdered sugar in a bowl or pie pan. Remove dough from refrigerator. Using a spoon, scoop dough and roll into 1" balls. Place balls on cookie sheet.
Bake 8-10 minutes, until just golden. Remove from oven and let sit on tray at least 1 minute. While still hot, roll in powdered sugar. Roll a second time, if desired.
Russian tea cakes are just perfect with coffee, tea or milk. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays to you and yours!