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Chocolate Russian Tea Cakes

Servings: Makes 5 dozen cookies
What are Tea Cakes?

A buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookie that's usually ball-shaped and generally contains finely chopped almonds, pecans or hazelnuts. It's 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 Russian Tea Cakes and Spain's Polvorones or they are often called Mexican Wedding Cakes or Cookies.

Source: The New Food Lover's Companion, Second Edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst

In this variation of the Russian Tea Cakes (cookies), unsweetened melted chocolate is added to the batter for a chocolate version of this favorite treat.

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped nuts (I recommend pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Combine brown sugar and butter in large mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add melted chocolate and vanilla. Continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour, nuts and salt; beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed (1 to 2 minutes).

2. Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until set.

3. Let stand 5 minutes; carefully remove from cookie sheets. Cool 5 minutes. Roll in or sprinkle with confectioners' sugar while still warm and again when cool.

Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Date: May 4, 2007