Russian Tea Cakes or Snowball Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Rich,buttery, hazelnut cookies rolled in icing sugar.
Recipe type: cookies
Serves: 12
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 2 cups plus one tbsp of flour
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup of nuts (hazelnut,almonds, pecans, walnuts)
  • ¼ cup of icing sugar
  • ¾ cup of icing sugar for dusting the baked product
  1. Kick the tires and light the fires to 350 degrees.
  2. For toasting, place the nuts on a sheet in the 350 degree oven and roast them up, for 5-7 minutes. You have to shake the sheet and roll the nuts around every 2 minutes or so, no word of a lie. You have to watch them so they don’t over cook, then the flavor is completely lost and turns into burnt nuts.
  3. Cream together the icing sugar, butter and vanilla.
  4. Once the nuts are toasted, place them on a clean tea towel, cover and let them sit for a few minutes. Then roll them around to get the outer coating off.
  5. You want to get them as clean as possible. Once that is done, time to get out the food processor. Place 1 tbsp of flour in with them – to hinder any sticking and to soak up any moisture that might aid said sticking- and process them into a fine mix.
  6. Add the nuts to the butter mixture and combine thoroughly.Add in the remaining flour and mix until combined.
  7. Shape the dough into a ball and refrigerate at least an hour.
  8. The secret to snowballs is to use extremely hard dough, cold from the fridge. Shape them into 1 inch balls, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 9-10 minutes, then check the bottoms to see if they are browned.
  9. You are, in essence, like shortbread, drying these out rather than cooking. There is nothing to cook, they are butter, sugar, vanilla and nuts. You do not want to overbake these.
  10. When they come out, let them rest a minute, then roll in your first layer of icing sugar.
  11. When they are all cooled and have that first layer on, roll again.
  12. The first layer melts into a lovely base coat that stays and the second is the fluffy pretty layer that looks purty but doesn’t stay on that long.
Recipe by The Kitchen Magpie at