Russian Tea Cakes

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Russian Tea Cakes are a delightful culinary masterpiece, perfect for those who appreciate the subtlety of vanilla and the richness of butter and walnuts. Each cookie is a small bundle of joy, dusted with a gentle snow of powdered sugar, evoking the festive spirit of winter and holiday gatherings.

Not only are they visually charming, but their melt-in-your-mouth texture and balanced sweetness make them an irresistible treat for all ages. Whether served alongside a warm cup of tea or as a dessert at a family dinner, these cookies are sure to enchant and delight your guests.

Russian Tea Cakes Recipe


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar, or more as needed


  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). This will ensure the perfect baking environment for your cookies.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and vanilla extract until smooth and well-combined, which should take about 2 to 3 minutes. This step is crucial for achieving the right texture in your cookies.
  3. In a different bowl, whisk together the flour and 6 tablespoons of powdered sugar. This dry mixture will form the base of your cookie dough.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and vanilla mixture, stirring gently until just blended. Be careful not to overmix at this stage.
  5. Fold in the walnuts. The dough might appear slightly crumbly, but this is perfectly normal and will contribute to the final texture of the cookies.
  6. Now, it’s time to shape the cookies. Take small portions of dough and roll them between your palms to form 1-inch balls. Place these balls on an ungreased cookie sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake the cookies in your preheated oven for approximately 12 minutes, or until you notice the edges starting to turn a light golden color.
  8. Once baked, remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. This cooling step is essential for them to firm up properly.
  9. After the cookies have cooled, roll them in the remaining 1/3 cup of powdered sugar. You might want to do this once or twice to ensure a generous coating of sugar on each cookie.
  10. Finally, your Russian Tea Cakes are ready to be enjoyed. Serve them as a delightful treat with tea or as a special dessert for your loved ones.

Enjoy your baking adventure!

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Russian Tea Cakes Faqs

How long does tea cake last?

Russian Tea Cakes can last quite well when stored properly. If kept in an airtight container at room temperature, they can stay fresh for up to 1 week. For longer storage, you might consider refrigerating or freezing them, which brings us to your next question.

Why are they called Russian tea cakes?

The origin of the name “Russian Tea Cakes” is a bit of a culinary mystery. There’s no definitive connection to Russia, and similar cookies are known by various names in different cultures, such as Mexican Wedding Cookies or Italian Butter Nuts. One theory is that these cookies became popular in the U.S. around the early 20th century, possibly brought by immigrants or popularized through international cookbooks. The name might have been influenced by the American fascination with Eastern European culture at the time, hence the “Russian” association.

How do you freeze tea cakes?

Freezing Russian Tea Cakes is a great way to extend their shelf life. To freeze them, place the cooled cookies in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy them, let them thaw at room temperature and then dust them with additional powdered sugar if needed.

What do tea cakes contain?

The classic Russian Tea Cake recipe typically includes butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, all-purpose flour, salt, and finely chopped nuts, usually walnuts or pecans. These ingredients combine to create a tender, crumbly, and slightly nutty cookie. Some variations might include other types of nuts or flavorings, but the basic ingredients remain largely the same.

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