Christmas/ Cookies/ Holidays/ Recipes

Russian Tea Cakes or Snowball Cookies

What I love most about Russian Tea Cakes is they are basically a shortbread that you can add your favorite nut to, then roll in icing sugar.

Is there anything that you can possibly find wrong with the above sentence? Nothing. This is all good.

Shortbread+hazelnuts=where have you been all my life?

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Ingredients Needed:
1 cup of butter
2 cups plus one tbsp of flour
1 tsp of vanilla extract
2/3 cup of nuts (hazelnut,almonds, pecans, walnuts)
1/4 cup of icing sugar
3/4 cup of icing sugar for dusting the baked product

Kick the tires and light the fires to 350 degrees.

First you have to toast the nuts. I personally have no interest in trying any other versions, hazelnut happy has been reached with me and these are perfect. But feel free to substitute your favorite nut into this recipe.

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.

Cream together the icing sugar, butter and vanilla.

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.

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.

Like this, very fine tidbits of nuts. Excepting that one large one I can see in my picture below.

Add the nuts to the butter mixture and combine thoroughly. Add in the remaining flour and mix until combined.

Shape the dough into a ball and refrigerate at least an hour.

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.

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.

When they come out, let them rest a minute, then roll in your first layer of icing sugar.

When they are all cooled and have that first layer on, roll again.

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.

Taaadaaa! Russian Tea Cakes or Snowball Cookies. They look so plain but are so delicious.

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Russian Tea Cakes or Snowball Cookies


  • Author: Karlynn Johnston
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 30 min

Description

Rich,buttery, hazelnut cookies rolled in icing sugar.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of butter
  • 2 cups plus one tbsp of flour
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup of nuts (hazelnut almonds, pecans, walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup of icing sugar
  • 3/4 cup of icing sugar for dusting the baked product

Instructions

  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.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 12

 

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Shawna M Ore
    March 3, 2017 at 7:56 am

    I call these snowball Cookie’s, make them with almond bits. They are tradition in my family at Christmas.

  • Reply
    littlecookingtips
    June 8, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Yummy yummy yummy! Oh, yes and Yummy! Those looks amazing Karlynn ! We know we’ll adore them as we have a similar treat in Christmas here in Greece called Kourabiedes. Those are filled with almonds.

    Excellent recipe and excellent photos!

    Great work, loved it!

    Panos and Mirella

  • Reply
    Dani
    December 11, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Hello, I just made these and although they are delicious, I’m not sure the baking time is long enough. When I tried one, the center looked too doughy and wet. Other recipes call for 15-18 minutes baking time. Next time I will bake longer.

  • Reply
    patrician
    December 19, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    IHello, so I made the cookies, and they are good but I have a question. First when the dough is hard , I found hard to roll them in a ball because they crumbled a little, so I wonder if one could roll them and then refridgerate them. Thanks

  • Reply
    Wave59
    October 24, 2012 at 11:54 am

    The Middle French word bescuit is derived from the Latin words bis (twice) and coquere, coctus (to cook, cooked), and, hence, means “twice-cooked”

  • Reply
    Lisa Hehr
    December 22, 2011 at 4:01 am

    No where in your recipe directions does it say to add the other 2 cups of flour…? Just something you might want to add in lol

  • Reply
    sarah stowers
    December 21, 2011 at 2:31 am

    What a beautiful photo of a wonderful memory of mine growing up! My grandmother always made these and after she passed away when I was young my Mom took over. We had several different tins full of cookies at Christmas and these were always in the fancy green and gold tin. They were and still are my all time favorite Christmas cookie! Just the right amount of sweetness. I think I will make some this weekend!

    • Reply
      Karlynn
      December 21, 2011 at 2:32 am

      There’s always some baking that reminds us of grandmothers, isn’t there? Enjoy baking them and I hope you like them!

  • Reply
    Shellie
    December 8, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Thank-you for the print link on the recipe.
    made your Grandma’s shortbread recipe with 1/2 marg 1/2 butter today….fabulous! Tho i almost added more sugar, i thought the dough tasted bland, not sweet enough. Nearly tricked i was!…cooked the hint of sweetness is perfect….even those people who ‘claim’ to not like sweets will love them. (i resent those people and think that behind closed doors they binge on buckets of sugar!! )

    • Reply
      Karlynn
      December 9, 2011 at 12:11 am

      I made all my shortbread yesterday…does it ever taste like Christmas to me..and yes, no more sugar, it’s what makes them sooo good!

  • Reply
    Lori
    December 11, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Could u send some to me? To hot to turn on the oven, but not to hot to pop them in my mouth!

  • Reply
    A Canadian Foodie
    December 11, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    These would be mighty tasty…. mom used to make something similar, but with pecans. I far prefer this recipe idea.
    YUM!

  • Leave a Reply

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