A Little Christmas Baking

Over the last couple of weeks there’s been a little Christmas baking going on here. (I recognize that as feigned surprise!) I made cookies for The Husband’s Christmas Party and to give away to neighbors and friends. Already, before Christmas is even here, nearly all the cookies are gone. Fortunately, the majority of those calories are not staying in the family, just some of them. I made some old favorites — almond balls, shown on the top tier and made without almonds — I used pecans and walnuts on some and others weren’t rolled in nuts at all; Russian Teacakes (aka Snowballs or Mexican Wedding Cakes) , on the middle tier; Chocolate Crinkles, on the middle tier; Sugar Cookies, on the bottom tier using star and Christmas tree cutouts;and peanut butter cookies, on the bottom tier. In addition to those in the picture, I made Peanut Butter Balls and both plain and orange Nanaimo Bars.

The Russian Teacake has always been a part of my winter memories. I did not grow up celebrating Christmas (although I very much enjoy doing so now), but everyone we visited had Christmas cookies and nearly everyone had Russian Teacakes. They are very fast to make, look pretty, and taste good so it’s easy to see why so many people make them.

The ones pictured here follow the old Betty Crocker recipe closely, except I use pecans instead of walnuts in mine. Sometimes I use orange flavoring in them, or wrap the dough around a Hershey’s kiss, and some like them with a little dollop of lemon or lime flavored cream cheese filling. However you prefer them, they look pretty and dainty on the plate and taste lovely, but, if you are like me, they may leave a dusty tale-tell trail of powdered sugar down the front of your black holiday dress! 😉

Russian Teacakes

1 c. butter
1/2 c. sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla (or orange, almond, etc)
2 1/4 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
3/4 finely chopped nuts (I prefer pecans and hazelnuts but I want to try pistachios too)

Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla thoroughly. Stir flour and salt together; blend in. Mix in nuts. Chill dough.

Heat oven to 400 F. Roll dough in 1″ balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until set but not brown. While warm, roll in confectioners’ sugar. Cool. Roll in sugar again, if desired.

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2 Responses

  1. I did the Russian Tea cakes as well, except it was a Greek recipe. Who could imagine that so many countries would have the “same” cookie and claim it!

  2. I do not know Russian Tea cakes, but they look very delicious. They come on my next year Christmas cookie baking list.

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