Russian Tea Cakes
Also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies, Snowballs, or just Tea Cakes, these easy to make, crunchy sugar-dusted nut balls are not too sweet and melt-in-your mouth delicious!
Servings: 48 Cookies
- ½ cup powdered sugar plus 2 cups for rolling the cookies
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature (226g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup finely grated pecans measured after grating (see notes)
Preheat oven to 400° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Sift together ½ cup of the powdered sugar, the flour and salt. Add to a large mixing bowl along with the butter, vanilla and grated pecans. Mix on low with an electric mixer until the dough is starting to come together. Increase the speed to medium and blend until all ingredients are incorporated.
Place the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar in a low-rimmed pie plate and set aside.
Scoop the dough (I use a small cookie scoop) and roll firmly into a 1-inch dough ball. Place the cookies on the parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.
Once baked, immediately remove several cookies from the baking sheet using a small spatula and turn them upside down in the bowl of powdered sugar. Allow the hot cookies to rest in the sugar for about 30 seconds then carefully turn to cover the bottoms. If you mound the powdered sugar toward the center of the plate, this will help when you go to cover each hot cookie. Working with one cookie at a time, gently turn in the sugar until the entire cookie is covered. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Working quickly, repeat with the remaining hot cookies until all are coated.
Once cooled (after about 1 hour) roll the cookies in powdered sugar again and store in an airtight container in a cool location. These cookies will keep about a week making them great to make ahead!
Grated pecans will have a powdery, light texture. Scoop the grated nuts into a measuring cup, then lightly tap the cup on a countertop to lightly pack the nuts. Then add more grated pecans to the cup until you reach the desired 3/4 cup total. If you don’t grate the pecans, I cannot guarantee these cookies will turn out correctly.
The flour is measured before sifting. When measuring flour, gently scoop the flour into the measuring cup and level off the top using the dull blade of a table knife.
If you believe your oven runs hotter than it should, you may want to bake at 375 degrees. Test a small batch of cookies first, or reduce the time baked to ensure they don’t burn. Remove from the oven when the tops are set and the bottom is lightly browned.
Don’t place the dough balls on a hot baking sheet. It’s best to alternate between cooled baking sheets or pieces of parchment. I use a rimless baking sheet that I love (see below for a link) so I can slide parchment onto the sheet and bake immediately.
Even though you can fit a large amount of unbaked cookies on each baking sheet, I prefer to bake just a few each time since you have to roll them in the powdered sugar while hot. The hot cookie melts the powdered sugar and forms an icing covering the entire cookie - yum!
Freeze the cooled cookies for up to 30 days.
Baked cookies stored in an airtight container in a dry, cool location will keep for 7 to 10 days.