Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Russian Tea Cakes

Servings: Makes 4 dozen cookies
Russian Tea Cakes are a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookie that's usually ball-shaped and generally contains finely chopped almonds, walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts. They are usually rolled in confectioners' sugar while still hot, then again after the cookie has cooled. Many countries have their own rendition of this rich cookie. Two versions are Mexican Wedding Cakes and Spain's polvorones.

These little cookies would make a wonderful addition to your Christmas cookie tray.

1 cup (2 sticks/8 oz./226g) butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts, such as pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts, toasted* (see how to toast nuts below)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C.
2. Mix butter, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and the vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on wire rack.
5. Roll warm cookies in confectioners' sugar; cool on wire rack. Roll in confectioners' sugar again.

How to Toast Nuts
Spread nuts in a single layer on a baking pan with rimmed sides for toasting in the oven. Cook at 400 degrees F/200 degrees C for 7 to 10 minutes or until the nuts start to turn golden. Shake the pan halfway through toasting.

Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Date: November 21, 2006