There are many different names and varieties of these cookies – “Mexican wedding cakes” is a pretty common one, as are “Kouranbiedes” and “Snowballs”. However, the one thing they all have in common is a powdered sugar base with nuts, which creates a melt-in-your-mouth sensation.
Russian Tea Cakes
2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 c pecan halves
2 c confectioners’ sugar
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350oF. Line a rimless baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine the pecans with 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar in a food processor. Pulse until nuts are finely ground. In a large bowl, whisk together with the flour and salt.
3. In a large bowl, combine the butter with 3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until soft dough comes together in large clumps.
4. To form each cookie, roll a level tablespoon of dough between your palms into a 3/5-inch ball. Place the balls 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Make sure to set them firmly onto the baking sheet so they stay in place.
5. Bake the cookies until the bottoms are light brown and the tops are lightly coloured, 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. Sift the remaining confectioners’ sugar into a bowl and roll the cookies in it, coating evenly. You will not use all of the sugar.
Makes about 6 dozen cookies