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Friday Cookies: Breaking the Rules Like Crazy

December 22, 2006

Russian Teacake

I wasn’t even sure that I was going to do cookies today. Especially when I saw that Slashfood’s Cookies of the Week were vanilla cut-out cookies. I don’t like cut-out cookies. I don’t have cookie cutters. I don’t like icing them, and decorating them. Call me Scrooge if you will. Knowing that I had so much other stuff to do, and that I didn’t like those cookies anyway, almost made it too easy for me to cop out on cookies altogether.

But then I remembered Russian Teacakes. These are my favorite Christmas cookies. They are a family tradition, and considering that I was already going the family tradition route tonight with the dinner party, I knew I would have to make them. The good news is that they’re very easy.

Russian Teacakes (or Mexican Wedding Cakes, or whatever you want to call them)

  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. finely chopped nuts (we usually use walnuts, but you can use whatever you like. This year, I’m going crazy and using hazelnuts.)
  • More powdered sugar for rolling

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cream together the butter, 1/2 c. powdered sugar, and the vanilla. Mix in the flour, the salt, and the nuts, and mix it until the dough holds together. Much like the shortbready cookies of last week, the dough is really crumbly, and it’s harder to do without a mixer, but you can do it! Just get your hands in there and smoosh it all together.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls (about a tablespoon of dough for each cookies) and place them about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet (ungreased–I used parchment paper). Bake them until they’re set, but not brown, about 10-12 minutes. Watch them carefully, because they tend to burn on the bottom.

When they’re ready, let them cook off for a minute or two. While they’re still warm, roll them in the powdered sugar, and then let them cool all the way. When they’re cool, roll them again.

These cookies are seriously my favorite. You’ll probably get sugar all over you everytime you take a bite, but it’s worth it, even for a fastidiously clean person like myself.

I’m glad I decided to make these today, even with all the other other crazy-ass cooking I have to do in the next two hours. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

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