These little nutty shortbread cookies are found in several different cultures throughout the world. In Russia, they’re made with hazelnuts and called Tea Cakes. In Mexico, they’re made with almonds and called Wedding Cookies. In the Southern USA, they’re made with pecans and called Pecan Sandies. And sometimes, usually at the holidays, they’re simply referred to as Snowballs.
My family always referred to these as Russian Tea Cakes, so that’s what we’re calling them! Whatever you want to call them and whichever nut you wish to use, these cookies are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and a personal favorite during the holiday season!
NOTE: Whichever nut you choose to use, don’t skip toasting them first to bring out a deeper, nuttier flavor profile!
Russian Tea Cakes
(Original recipe: Natasha’s Kitchen)
2 C all-purpose flour
8 oz butter, room temperature
1 C walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
2-1/2 C confectioners’ sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or silicone liner.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add flour and salt and continue mixing until no streaks of flour remain. The mixture will be lumpy.
Use a firm spatula to fold in the toasted nuts until evenly incorporated.
Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place them on the baking sheet 1-inch apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are golden at the base.
Fill a bowl with 1 cup powdered sugar. Roll the cookie balls in the sugar while they are still very warm. Transfer to a platter to cool completely. Once cookies are at room temperature, roll them in powdered sugar again to get perfectly covered cookie balls.
Cookies may be stored up to 1 week in an airtight container.