I like cookies. Well, to be honest, I like pretty much all baked goods. But I do like cookies a lot. And my favorite cookies are Russian teacakes, also known as Mexican wedding cookies. I love the shortbread texture, with its slightly crumbly, buttery richness. Add pecans and an icing-like coating of melted powdered sugar and you have cookie perfection, as far as I’m concerned. And they are quick to make, which is icing on the cake – or cookie.
These are easy cookies to make – the dough comes together in minutes. Be sure to only bake one pan at a time, and don’t put more than twenty cookies on each pan. They need to be coated with powdered sugar while they are hot, and if you bake more than twenty at a time, they will cool before you get them all coated.
My mom likes these cookies as much as I do, and she figured out that if you put the powdered sugar in a plastic bag, you can shake the hot cookies in the sugar and get them done quickly, and with little mess. Don’t do more than three or four cookies at a time, or you won’t have enough room to move them around to cover them thoroughly. And shake them gently, or the cookies will break. Or shake as hard as you like, since the cook gets to eat the broken ones.
Russian Tea Cakes
From The Cook’s Life
Makes 4-5 dozen cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup finely chopped pecans
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar, for rolling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat butter, ½ cup powdered sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add pecans, flour and salt and mix well.
Roll into small balls, ¾ inch or smaller. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until slightly golden and set, and cookie bottoms are golden brown. Do not bake more than one pan at a time or you won’t be able to coat them all with powdered sugar before they cool too much.
Roll cookies in powdered sugar while still hot. You can put the powdered sugar in a plastic bag and gently shake 3 or 4 cookies at a time until covered. Don’t shake too vigorously or the cookies will break apart – they are fragile until cool.
Carefully place coated cookies on racks to cool completely. You can dust with additional powdered sugar after they cool, if desired.
These keep at room temperature for weeks, in an airtight container. Freeze for longer storage.