Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cookies!!! Part 1 (Mexican Wedding Cakes/Russian Tea Cakes)

I lost a few pounds this fall, but I think I may be 'finding' some of them if I'm not careful...On the Christmas cookie platters!
Note to self:
It's not necessarily the most personally beneficial idea (healthwise) to have the kids make your favorite cookies for the Christmas cookie gift plates!
I don't even like cookies...Usually.  But give me a plateful of any of these, and I could eat them all.  
Russian Tea Cakes, Hawaiian Shortbread, and Jam Thumbprints
Russian Tea Cakes/ Mexican Wedding Cakes
My paternal grandmother often included Russian Tea Cakes on her Christmas cookie platters.  I'm quite certain she used the recipe in her go-to book, Betty Crocker's Cooky Book.  We couldn't find our copy, so we made them this year from the recipe in America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.  We simplified their process and ingredients with fine results, so this is our adaptation of ATT's recipe:
2 cups walnuts or pecans (we always use walnuts), chopped/ground fine in food processor
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees on Bake, or 300 degrees on Convection.
Stir nuts, flour, and salt together; set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar with the electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 to 6 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla.  With the mixer on a lower speed, slowly mix in the flour-nut mixture until well combined, scraping the bowl, if necessary.
Roll the dough into 1" balls and place approximately 1" apart on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.  
Bake approximately 18 minutes, until the the bottoms are just beginning to brown.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.  When cooled, roll the cookies, a few at a time, in the powdered sugar to coat.  
If stacked when put in a container for storage, they will stick together and remove the sugar in spots.  We learned that the hard way.  :-)  

Recipes for the Hawaiian Shortbread and Jam Thumbprints, coming up.


  1. Oooh! Cooky book! My mother's copy is precious, especially for the margin notes telling which ones are good (and which are awful) and little adjustments to the recipes. I hope you find yours. The cookie platters look great.

  2. LOL! Thursday Mexican Wedding/Russian Teacakes are on my list to make. We roll them twice...once right out of the oven and then again after they've cooled. My favorite cookie cook book, btw, is also Betty Crocker's Cooky Book! My favorite cookies are "Mary's Sugar Cookies" (pg 18). I've been experimenting with them the past 3 Christmas' to make them Gluten-Free without the "gluten-free aftertaste". I still haven't been successful. *sigh*

    The only cookies, so far, I've been able to successfully adapt are "Rocks" (from my great-grandmother)...and that's b/c they have enough cinnamon & cloves to mask the aftertaste!

  3. These are a favorite at our house, too!(with some gf modifications, of course) I like making them to bring along to a Fiesta-themed party. I always cut waxed paper to stick between the layers to keep them from sticking. Those mini-muffin paper liners work great, too.

  4. Oh, of course...wax paper!

    With the Cooky Book, there's just no need for any other...Except, of course, when yours goes missing! My grandma gave Princess Bossy her copy of that book (with all the great notes) years ago, lucky girl. I had to resort to Ebay for mine.

  5. Wax paper between cookie layers, I learned from my mother-in-law. She is a Betty Crocker cookbook lover, too. Mexican Wedding Cookies have been a favorite since childhood. I love the outside soft sweet layer.
    Merry Christmas, Rhome, to you and your family. I hope all your family is safely at home.

  6. Merry Christmas to you and your family, too, Cotehele! 9 of the 10 of us will be home for Christmas. We had all 10 together last weekend. And did we get a picture of all of us in one photo? Of course not... :-/ But we had fun.


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