Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Russian Tea Cakes
This Saturday morning, I woke to one of the most lovely things you can see the week before Christmas: a light dusting of snow falling merrily from the sky. I promptly donned my boots, coat, and obnoxious drug store Santa hat, grabbed a ladder, and went out to the front of the building to put up a few twinkly lights.
Our Christmas decorations went up a little at time this year. After Thanksgiving, I brought up the box from the basement, and we've just been taking a few things out and putting them up around the house when we have spare moments. The advent wreath was first. Then a funny little snowman who counts down the days until Christmas. We got a tree, and then a few days later, decorated it with lights. A few days after that, we finally got around to the ornaments. It's been really nice.
Russian tea cakes are my all-time favorite Christmas cookie. The instant hit of sweetness when you bite through the outer layer of powdered sugar, the tender, crumbly cookie, the crunchy walnuts. They are practically perfect in every way.
Russian Tea Cakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons powdered sugar (plus 1 cup extra for rolling)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low until well incorporated. Scoop a tablespoon of dough at a time, roll it into a ball between your palms. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes, until cookies are just set and barely beginning to brown on the bottom edges. Remove from oven, allow to cool 2 minutes on the pan and roll in powdered sugar while still hot. Cool completely.
Yield: about 3 dozen cookies
Note: In an airtight container, these keep well for at least a week. They have never lasted that long in our house.