Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

As long as I can remember, my mother has made Russian Teacakes at Christmas. She still does. I expect to see a container of them when I visit soon, if not I’ll make some.

Your family may have another name for these melt-in-your-mouth cookies — butterballs, snowballs, or Mexican wedding cakes. I think the Italians have a similar crescent-shaped cookie.

I don’t remember where I got this recipe. Because I wrote it on an index card, now nicely yellowed with age, I’m assuming it’s my mother’s. My recipe may have more almond extract than others because I love that almond flavor. Keep an eye on these cookies toward the end of baking. They can overcook and get a bit dry. 

These Christmas cookies make a great snack, dessert, or, if you must know, breakfast. Santa loves them too.

christmas cookies mexican wedding cakes butterballs snowballs

Russian Teacakes

Yield 48

 You’ll need two mixing bowls and a baking sheet.

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, sifted, plus more for coating the cookies
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups flour, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped (or pecans)

Mix butter, sugar, almond and vanilla extract thoroughly. Sift together and stir in flour and salt. Mix in walnuts. Chill dough.

Preheat oven to 400. Roll dough into 1” balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet. The cookies won’t spread so you can put them close to each other. Bake until set but not brown, about 10-12 minutes. Tops and sides will be pale yellow and bottoms will be light tan.

While still warm, roll in confectioners sugar. Cool. Roll in sugar again.

3 thoughts on “Russian Teacakes

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