"This is a family recipe that's been made at Christmas time by at least 4 generations. This year will be the first for number 5!!! 'Bubba' brought it with her when she came from Lithuania. I pass it on in the true spirit of this season!" — THEAUNT708
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confectioners' sugar for decoration
These are THE BEST Russian Tea cookies I have ever tried, baked and eaten!! For people getting a crumbly dough, just add about 1 tablespoon milk and your problem is solved! I do this and ALWAYS get a perfectly moist dough to work with. Just make sure you keep mixing the dough until no trace of white flour is left and dough comes together and is a little tacky. Using an electric mixer with a dough paddle is ideal. I do roll the balls in regular sugar before baking and roll it in powdered sugar TWICE for a nice, white, sweet coating. No worries, it will be perfectly sweet. This cookie can also stay fresh for a very long time in an airtight container. I made two batches that lasted me well over a week and it tasted as good as the first day. I've also used almond extract in place of vanilla and it tasted just as wonderful. Last tip - the finer you chop/grind the walnuts, the less your cookie will crumble when being eaten! I've used this recipe dozens of times and it's perfect EVERYTIME! Try this, you WON'T regret it.
These cookies are VERY time consuming! I made a double batch for a baby shower and found myself wishing I'd made something else. The taste was just okay. But - 2 of my friends did say they were great.
These are just fantastic. But wow for once I do not agree with the most helpful rated review. I did not care for the cookie rolled in sugar at all. I used both pecans and walnuts and liked the walnut better - the slight bitter taste of the nut was a perfect complement to the powdered sugar of the cookie. I ground the walnuts in my coffee grinder. I used a bit less flour (3 TBS less) than recommended for my second batch and that turned out better. Note that batter will be crumbly but when you roll it into a ball in your hand it will come together - just squeeze a bit! Also, when I rolled warm cookies in the powdered sugar they didn't even need a second roll! (warm and being able to hold in your hand without feeling YOW!, not hot or the powdered sugar will melt). Although I prefer walnut the most, this cookie is great with any kind of nut or flavoring - even pistachio. Roll in cinnamon and powdered sugar for something different.
I'm a first generation Russian/Ukrainian - American and my husband is a "right off the boat" Russian. I have used this recipe (slightly modified using pecans instead of almonds, and a little less flour, at 310 degrees) for several years now at our church's annual Old Country Christmas bake sale. We are a Russian Orthodox, and to us Old Country means THE old country, not country-western, and people visit our sale to find those "real homemade ethnic" baked goods. This has always sold out on the first day, even when I make 100 dozen. It doesn't get much better than this!
I have the same exact recipe handed down from my grandmother and it is absolutely divine!!! I made three dozen of these for the office over the holidays and they were gobbled up. Another person brought the same kind of cookies on the same day I did and unfortunately for the poor dear, her's just set there while mine steadily disappeared. HINT: Whatever nut I happen to be using (walnut or pecan), I grind down a little extra until it is essentially dust and add it to the powdered sugar prior to rolling the balls ~ I think it gives the cookie an extra edge... Thanks so much for the recipe!
The first time I tried this recipe, the dough was too dry and crumbly to roll into balls. The second time it worked much better. The secret is to have the butter very soft and warm, but not melted. Room temperature butter is not soft enough.
To answer a previous reviewer's question, I think you do want to use salted butter because the Betty Crocker recipe for Russian Tea Cakes calls for 1/4 tsp salt. I made that recipe for the first time a couple of weeks ago and today, wanting more Russian Tea Cakes decided to try the recipe on this site to compare.
Both recipes are excellent. The Betty Crocker recipe calls 2+1/4 cup sifed flour and 1/2 cup sifted confectioner's sugar in the recipe, slightly less nuts, and rolling around in the sugar two times (once when still warm) but otherwise it's the same. That recipe results in dough that is slightly stiffer and thus easier to work with in rolling into balls. The taste is slightly less buttery, melt-in-your mouth and instead is a bit stiffer which is not a bad thing.
(BTW, I did sift the flour and sugar together for this recipe.)
My husband loved both too but said he grew up with the BC recipe so prefers it very slightly over this one. Either one would have been fine with me (I didn't grow up with these) but the BC recipe dough is easier to work with so I was just as glad he chose that one.
My mom made these every year, and I was very happy to find the perfect recipe. The only thing I would change would be the oven temperature. I baked mine at 300 for about 15 minutes. I took them out when the bottoms were light golden brown and let them sit for a few minutes before I rolled them in the powdered sugar. These are great. Very delicate and rich. Thanks for sharing.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Russian Tea Cakes I
Serving Size: 1/36 of a recipe
Servings Per Recipe: 36
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat: 66
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