The name may change — from Mexican wedding cookies to Austrian kipferln and Russian tea cakes — but these cookies have a lot in common. They all carry a good measure of chopped or ground nuts, a small amount of granulated sugar, plenty of butter, a coating of confectioners’ sugar and an appealing “melt-away” texture.
Russian Tea Cakes
Cookie of the Day
Leading up to Christmas, we’ll be featuring one standout cookie recipe every day. Let the holiday cookie exchanges begin!
1 cup (5 oz./155 g.) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup (3 oz./90 g.) granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup (3 oz./90 g.) toasted, skinned and ground hazelnuts
1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g.) confectioners’ sugar
Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line a rimless baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Set aside.
By hand: In a large bowl, combine the butter, granulated sugar and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the hazelnuts and stir until blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix until the soft dough comes together in large clumps.
By mixer: In a large bowl, combine the butter, granulated sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the hazelnuts and beat on low speed until blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat until the soft dough comes together in large clumps.
To form each cookie, roll a level tablespoon of dough between your palms into a 1-inch (2.5-cm.) ball. Place the balls 1 inch (2.5 cm.) apart on the prepared baking sheet. Make sure to set them firmly onto the baking sheet so they stay in place.
Bake the cookies until the bottoms are light brown and the tops are lightly colored, 20-25 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Gently roll the cookies in the sugar to coat them evenly. You will not use all of the confectioners’ sugar. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes about 24 cookies.