Russian Tea Cakes: International Blogger Holiday Cookie Recipe Exchange!

December 7, 2010

Our holiday cookie recipe exchange is in full swing! There are 19 participants and by December 15th each will have made and posted about a cookie recipe received from a fellow food blogger. Shortly after the 15th Adrienne and I will have a summary post with links to all the great cookie recipes so everyone can enjoy the results.

Today, I’m happy to be posting the recipe I received. It comes from Jason of Ancient Fire Wine Blog. Along with this recipe for Russian Tea Cakes, Jason sent along a story about how this recipe came to be a regular on his family’s holiday table. I enjoyed the story so I decided not to paraphrase it for you.

Jason writes:

These are my absolute favorite cookie my Mom always makes at Christmas. They never last long, mostly because of me. I called her to ask for the recipe this week and she told me the story of how she came by it, a story had never heard. When she was a little girl her Mom used to take her and her brothers across the street to a church that held lots of neighborhood activities including potlucks, etc. These cookies would be there from time to time. She recalls being there one day by herself (she can’t recall why or how) and that someone had made the Russian Tea Cakes again.

These were her favorites too so you can imagine how excited she would have been anytime she found them. She enjoyed a few, much like I would if they were just sitting around, but this time she asked around and found the person who made them. She proudly came home with the recipe which she has now been making for 50+ years around Christmas. I believe she was overwhelmed with joy that I called to ask for this recipe. I didn’t realize how meaningful the cookies were to her and I feel so good for having done so.

These cookies hold a bit of a special place in my heart as well. In my family we called them Mexican Wedding Cakes. My grandmother never had a Christmas Eve holiday cookie tray without these cookies on it. She passed away a couple years ago while we were living in Brazil so I fondly remember every way she made our holiday party special. It is foods and memories like these that never fail to bring a smile to my heart.

I didn’t alter the recipe that was sent to me. The specific ingredients I used included unsalted butter, unbleached all-purpose flour and pecans.

I hope you enjoy them as much as Jason and I do!

Russian Tea Cakes
Recipe from Jason of Ancient Fire Wine Blog

1 cup butter
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
Additional confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream butter, vanilla and 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Add salt, nuts and flour to creamed mixture. Form dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Place balls on an ungreased baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Watch the cookies closely so they don’t get too brown on the bottom.

Cool for 5 minutes and then roll in confectioners’ sugar. After they cool or before you serve, roll in confectioners’ sugar again. Makes about 4 dozen (I rolled mine big so I got a little over 2 dozen).

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  • kat December 7, 2010 at 8:44 am

    That is a cookie I grew up with, love it with a cup of strong coffee

  • gastroanthropologist December 7, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I can’t wait to see all the cookies! I received Mexican Wedding Cakes, though I’m used to making Russian Tea Cakes =). I love how these simple cookies with few ingredients are often the most coveted on the cookie plate!

  • Sagan December 7, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Aww, what a sweet story! It’s so nice to see how something can become meaningful like that – and that it can be shared with the world.

  • 5 Star Foodie December 7, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    These cookies look delightful, looking forward to seeing a roundup for this cookies exchange, how fun!

  • Tangled Noodle December 7, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Such a lovely story behind these cookies! Thanks for sharing it in full. 😎

    I also know these as Mexican Wedding Cakes while my BIL calls them ‘little pats of butter’ (don’t worry, he never turns them down!) I look forward to the roundup for a nice and handy compendium of great Christmas treats!

  • Debinhawaii December 8, 2010 at 1:55 am

    I am always happy to see these cookies on a cookie plate–they are a favorite. Gorgeous photos too. 😉

  • Jason Phelps December 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm


    I was so delighted to read your post. I am actually in CT today visiting my parents and read it to my mom. She was smiling from ear to ear!

    I love the pictures.

    I can’t wait to see the other posts. Mine have been made and I am mulling over what I am going to write. It will go up right before the deadline.


  • cathy December 8, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    I loooove Russian Tea Cakes. Thanks for sharing the recipe!k

  • Michelle @ Find Your Balance December 10, 2010 at 7:38 am

    They’re very pretty. I don’t think I’ve ever had a cookie like that!

  • OysterCulture December 11, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    I love them and don’t care what nationality claims them to me they are a global favorite and I agree, a Christmas plate just looks a bit bare without them.

  • Magic of Spice December 17, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    What a fun idea…and fantastic cookie recipe 😉

  • Marianne (frenchfriestoflaxseeds) December 21, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    I have read about Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies before, but never really knew what they were. I don’t think I’ve ever had them either, but I love that they look a bit like snowballs.