Chef John's Russian Tea Cakes

4.7
(96)

As the old joke goes, these Russian tea cakes might not be Russian, but at least they're not cakes. No one knows exactly how these came to be known as Russian tea cakes but, nevertheless, they are quite delicious.

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Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
Servings:
14
Yield:
28 to 32 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 ⅓ cups confectioners' sugar, divided

  • 1 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts

  • teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting, or more as needed

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Arrange rack in center position of oven.

  2. Place butter, 1/3 cup packed powdered sugar, walnuts, salt, and vanilla in a bowl. Top with the flour. Mix with your clean hands until the dough starts to clump up. Keep mixing by hand until all the flour and clumps of butter are evenly mixed into the dough and it can be easily formed into balls.

  3. Scoop out dough and roll by hand into uniformly round balls, just slightly larger than 1 inch. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat about 2 inches apart.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until lightly golden, 15 to 25 minutes depending on the size of the cookies.

  5. Let cool exactly 5 minutes then roll in remaining 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Let cookies cool completely and toss them again in the confectioners' sugar.

Cook's Notes:

The only tricky thing here is the baking time, since there are so many variables: the size of the dough balls, whether you use a silicone mat or parchment, how light or dark the sheet pan is, etc. These factors can all affect the final time significantly.

I think this cookie tends to get under-cooked, and some recipes call for as little as 12 minutes at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). I like these fairly golden, so I get that nice brown-butter flavor, and that took me about 20 minutes or so, which is why I gave such a wide range. Start checking at 15 minutes, and proceed from there.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

321 Calories
19g Fat
36g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 14
Calories 321
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 35mg 12%
Sodium 23mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 20g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 15mg 1%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 62mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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