New recipes

Russian tea cakes recipe

Russian tea cakes recipe

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Biscuits and cookies

Russian tea cakes are little balls of buttery shortbread studded with walnuts and rolled in icing sugar. They're melt-in-the mouth moreish and, as the name suggests, an incomparable complement to a cup of tea. You can make the dough in advance and freeze for up to 2 weeks.

1103 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 3 dozen

  • 225g butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • 110g walnuts, finely chopped
  • icing sugar for decoration

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:12min ›Ready in:32min

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream butter and vanilla until smooth. Combine the icing sugar and flour; stir into the butter mixture until just blended. Mix in the chopped walnuts. Roll dough into 2.5cm balls, and place them 5cm apart on an ungreased baking tray.
  3. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When cool, roll in remaining icing sugar a few times until well coated.


Russian tea cakes

Recently viewed

Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(1370)

Reviews in English (1066)

by MommyFromSeattle

These are THE BEST Russian Tea cookies I have ever tried, baked and eaten!! For people getting a crumbly dough, just add about 1 tablespoon milk and your problem is solved! I do this and ALWAYS get a perfectly moist dough to work with. Just make sure you keep mixing the dough until no trace of white flour is left and dough comes together and is a little tacky. Using an electric mixer with a dough paddle is ideal. I do roll the balls in regular sugar before baking and roll it in powdered sugar TWICE for a nice, white, sweet coating. No worries, it will be perfectly sweet. This cookie can also stay fresh for a very long time in an airtight container. I made two batches that lasted me well over a week and it tasted as good as the first day. I've also used almond extract in place of vanilla and it tasted just as wonderful. Last tip - the finer you chop/grind the walnuts, the less your cookie will crumble when being eaten! I've used this recipe dozens of times and it's perfect EVERYTIME! Try this, you WON'T regret it.-02 Nov 2006

by Suzy

These are just fantastic. But wow for once I do not agree with the most helpful rated review. I did not care for the cookie rolled in sugar at all. I used both pecans and walnuts and liked the walnut better - the slight bitter taste of the nut was a perfect complement to the powdered sugar of the cookie. I ground the walnuts in my coffee grinder. I used a bit less flour (3 TBS less) than recommended for my second batch and that turned out better. Note that batter will be crumbly but when you roll it into a ball in your hand it will come together - just squeeze a bit! Also, when I rolled warm cookies in the powdered sugar they didn't even need a second roll! (warm and being able to hold in your hand without feeling YOW!, not hot or the powdered sugar will melt). Although I prefer walnut the most, this cookie is great with any kind of nut or flavoring - even pistachio. Roll in cinnamon and powdered sugar for something different.-08 Dec 2006

by Christine Dianne Nazarenko Eli

I'm a first generation Russian/Ukrainian - American and my husband is a "right off the boat" Russian. I have used this recipe (slightly modified using pecans instead of almonds, and a little less flour, at 310 degrees) for several years now at our church's annual Old Country Christmas bake sale. We are a Russian Orthodox, and to us Old Country means THE old country, not country-western, and people visit our sale to find those "real homemade ethnic" baked goods. This has always sold out on the first day, even when I make 100 dozen. It doesn't get much better than this!-24 Feb 2006

More collections

Pecan Snowball Cookies

Of all holiday cookies, few are as simple and as Southern as our Pecan Snowball Cookies. Also known as Russian tea cakes, these small spheres of buttery vanilla shortbread have crunchy pecan pieces dispersed throughout their crumbly texture. Our recipe is special because we take the time to toast the pecan pieces in the oven before making the dough. A step requiring no more than 10 minutes, toasting the pecans first forces the pecans to release their oils and take on a richer and nuttier flavor. Once they&rsquove cooled, these pecans are mixed into the shortbread, their oils perfuming and flavoring the cookie dough. For balance, the cookie dough itself is not very sweet because the cookie balls are coated twice in powdered sugar. The first coating happens minutes after the cookies come out of the oven. The warm exterior of the cookie causes the powdered sugar to stick, and as they cool, the powdered sugar adhering to the surface becomes very sticky. It&rsquos this sticky surface that makes the second coating of powdered sugar cling to the cookie and form a dry and powdery sweet casing for the rich and nutty cookie. This recipe makes 4 dozen Pecan Snowball Cookies, so you will have some to share (if you want to).

Ingredients you&rsquoll need

Here&rsquos a list of ingredients you&rsquoll need to make these cookies. You can find my recipe card at the bottom of this post for the complete list with their amounts.

  • Unsalted butter: You&rsquoll want your butter partly melted for this recipe. So about half melted.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Icing/powdered sugar
  • Plain/all-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Chopped nuts: I used a mix of peanuts, almonds and walnuts. You can use ground nuts if you&rsquod like less crunch.

2. Bird&rsquos Milk Cake

Using sour cream as the main ingredient had me a little skeptical, but this cake is delicious.

With a light, thin, sweet milk-soaked cake as a base, the sour cream filling is smooth with just the right amount of sweet and sour.

When you whip up the sour cream, it will need about 15 minutes to almost double in size.

This mousse is stabilized with gelatin, so no need to worry about it losing its height.

It gets topped with a chocolate ganache for a richness that pairs perfectly with the sweetened sour cream tang.

Russian tea cakes, indecisive-style

  • 1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups of powdered/confectioners sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon

For chocolate sauce (optional, sorry to do that to you)

Toast the pecans and hazelnuts in the oven (350 degrees Fahrenheit for roughly 12 minutes, stir every four minutes, remove when they start to smell amazing and/or are a little browned). Separate hazelnuts while still warm and roll in a dishtowel to remove most of the skins. Let cool to room temperature. Do a number on the nuts in a food processor or other grinding tool by pulsing until fine, making sure to occasionally scrape the sides of the bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter with electric mixer until fluffy. Separate 1/2 cup powdered sugar and add to butter along with vanilla. Set remaining powdered sugar aside. Beat until blended. Add flour, beat until blended add nuts, beat until blended. Split dough into two balls, wrap each in plastic and chill for 30 minutes to an hour.

Preheat to 350 degrees. Put remaining powdered sugar in a large bowl. Take half the chilled dough and roll into balls in roughly two-teaspoon increments. Space balls 1/2 inch apart on large baking sheet. Bake about 18 minutes until the cookies are lightly golden on top. Cool on cookie sheet for five minutes, then toss in powdered sugar. Cool on cooling rack.

Whisk cinnamon into powdered sugar. Repeat process wth second ball of dough.

When cookies are cool, melt chocolate chips and stir in cream (I used the microwave, but however you like). Dip one side of however many of the cookies you please in the chocolate. Let cool. Enjoy being drunk with power.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


As it’s nearly That Time Of Year When I Wish Merry Hellfire On Small Children Everywhere, I present to you. Granny Vinegar’s legendary ginger loaf. It freezes well, so with a bit of forward planning and a hefty shopping bag, it makes an ideal food-based weapon.

100g of unsalted butter, softened.

175g of treacle. Or molasses or whatever satanic substance you Yanks use.

50g of golden syrup. You can use a golden-syrup substitute, but please, do try and get the real deal. Plus, you can use golden syrup for a whole shitting tonne of excellent British baking snacks. Plus, it’s fucking amazing on ice cream. Trust me on this. It’s literally orgasmic.

100g of soft brown sugar. It can be any dark brown sugar you want – I recommend muscavado or Demerara. Wee tip for you lot - if you do have brown sugar, but it’s all clumped together and dried out, try putting it into a bowl, cover the bowl with a dampened paper towel and microwave for ten seconds at a time until soft and crumbly. Don’t say I’m not nice to you.

6 tablespoons of full-fat milk.

2 large eggs, beaten like the little bitches they are.

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.

1 tablespoon of ground ginger

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon.

First , get a loaf tin, and line with greaseproof paper. Britain has a fucking amazing baking emporium called Lakeland where you can actually buy loaf-tin liners. If you can’t be fucked peeling off greaseproof paper, I highly recommend these. They look good and everyone won’t think you’re that drunken floozy who drunk-phoned her boss on New Years Day and told him he has a massive. anyway.

Now, put the butter, treacle, syrup and sugar into a pan and gently heat over a low heat until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, stirring constantly. Turn the heat off, leave to cool for a couple of minutes and then stir in the milk and eggs. Put to one side.

Sift all the dry ingredients together into a large bowl, and then gradually pour in the melted mixture, beating constantly until smooth.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, and bake on the middle shelf at 160 degrees Celsius/325 Fahrenheit/Gas Mark 3 for at least an hour or until a skewer stabbed into the bread comes out clean. Once cooked, remove from the oven but leave in the tin for ten minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

I should point out that this goes delightfully well with a good cup of coffee and it’s insanely popular at my workplace when iced. To ice, simply roll out some fondant icing (what the hell do you mean, “I can’t make fondant!”? Learn, you slattern and remember: sugar burns are not painful but merely a reminder of your lacklustre upbringing and a lasting memorial to your parents’ clearly lacking culinary skills. ) The icing should ideally be around a centimetre thick ( so you can listen to Gargantuor, aka Fat Dave From Admin, whine about his diabetes for the zillionth time. Yes, we have a death pool at work and yes, we have him copping it from a lack of Snickers in March 2019. Its okay - he’s a cunt and no one really likes him anyway and we’re this close to figuring out a way into tricking the fat bell-end into eating salad to test our theory that lettuce will kill him. )

Now, here’s a wee trick I picked up a few years ago from watching the Queen of Baking, aka, Mary Berry (think Martha Stewart, but British, better dress sense, less of a total patronising cunt and minus the criminal record) - when icing something like a ginger loaf, the crust that’ll form on the loaf will be literally waterproof. To get round this - and to make sure that your icing sticks - simply melt one tablespoon of apricot jam or jelly in one tablespoon of boiling water (again, burn marks are a learning experience and just how the holiest of fucking hells can you not boil water safely, Becky?)

Mix until the jam is all gooey and melty and then brush quickly over the top of the loaf and drape your fondant icing over. To serve, simply slice it up into however many slices you want (I usually cut the loaf into one-inch thick slabs and then cut the loaf lengthwises, that way I don’t need to listen to the Weightwatcher Failure Club in my office whine about their Neverending Battle With Snacks. Joseph , Ginger Brian , and Fat Dave - it’s not the jeans that make you look fat. It’s the fat in your arses that make you look fat. Self-control. Exercise it.)

After all that - this cake’s a major hit with kids. I recommend cutting a slice into two portions (it can be a wee bit rich for some wee hobgoblins, so you can always give them one piece and then save another piece for after their dinner) And the wee devils I know love to have this with proper custard - just an FYI in case for some bizarre reason you have any leftovers .

I take zero responsibility for any work-related maimings you could be blamed for as a result of following my advice. If so, just get a staplegun and let loose with it.

How to Make Paleo Russian Tea Cakes:

Add all ingredients for the tea cakes to a stand mixer, and beat on medium speed until well-combined. Refrigerate cookie dough for 2 hours. Form balls out of the cookie dough, about 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place tray of dough balls in the freezer and freeze for 15 minutes.

When you&rsquore ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place rolling sweetener of choice in a bowl and roll each ball of dough in the sweetener. Place the balls back onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, just until cookies begin turning slightly golden-brown.

Russian Tea Cake Recipe

Russian tea cakes can join the club of recipes that has nothing to do with their names. Russian tea cakes are much closer to cookies given their individually formed bite sized ball shape, sparse ingredients list and lack of preparation technique.

Although Russians do like tea and has a great tea drinking tradition with sweets, cookies or whatever at hand, they don&rsquot particularly have this kind of thing piled up next to their samovars.

Where do Russian tea cakes come from?

So Russian tea cakes aren&rsquot cakes and aren&rsquot Russian. We could still have them with our cup of tea though, except we don&rsquot as we have them for Christmas. Others, like Mexicans have them for weddings and call them wedding cakes or cookies which might make more sense since they have them at weddings, not for tea.

Russian tea cakes aren&rsquot completely taken out of thin air though. There are legends about European nuns who migrated to Mexico, bringing the knowledge with them to create these little sweets to make the harshness of life bearable in the new world.

The closest sibling this cake has, can still be found in Europe today. In Spain, they call it Polvorones which loosely translates to &ldquodust&rdquo as the cakes crumble away by the lightest of touch and melts away on our tongue, bringing heaven to Earth.

What&rsquos Russian in tea cakes?

There are rumors that the cakes may have been served while enjoying tea from Russian tea kettles, called samovars.

Samovars are very interesting type of kitchen equipment, at least by modern standards. They were designed to house a mini furnace in the middle, to heat up the surrounding water without the need of using large amount of fuel or any kind of cooktop.

Once the water was hot enough, it was poured out through a built-in tap, allowing the brewing process to begin in a tea pot. Engineering marvels allowed the tea pot to sit on top of the samovar, blocking the escape of smoke and keeping the tea hot longer.

Cakes from such samovar tea parties must have seeped into the collective knowledge of humanity and stuck there as Russian tea cakes.

What are Russian tea cakes made of?

The main ingredients of Russian tea cakes are flour, water, butter and ground nuts. In reality, not the cookies itself but rather their appearance that provide the distinctive characteristics associated with Russian tea cakes.

Traditionally, the cookies are coated in confectioner&rsquos sugar not only once but twice. First time when they are fresh out of the oven the balls are rolled into confectioners&rsquo sugar. Once they are cooled down a second layer of white powdered sugar is drizzled over them, giving them a white coat.

This second layer of whiteness must be the reason why we like to make them during the Christmas festive season and the sweet sugary coat is why we make them at any time besides Christmas.

Low carb version of the Russian tea cake is fairly easy to make. Once we skip the usual high carbs ingredients like the flour and sugar what remains is butter and nuts. Substituting the sugar with our favorite low carb sweetener shouldn&rsquot be so hard and using nut flour in the place of the white flour is equally easy.

The best thing is that it doesn&rsquot matter which type we&rsquoll make under the coat of white powder, all cakes not just looks but tastes equally sweet.


Old school

  • ¾ cup / 100g Chopped nuts (Walnut, almond, hazelnut, pecans&hellip)
  • 2¼ cups / 300g Flour
  • 1 cup / 200g Butter (room temperature)
  • 1½ cups / 200g Powdered sweetener of choice (dived into two)
  • 2 teaspoon / 10ml Vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon / 2g Salt

New school &ndash Keto

  • 1 cup / 100g Chopped nuts
  • 1½ cup / 150g Almond flour
  • ½ cup / 100g Butter (room temperature)
  • 1½ cups / 200g Powdered sweetener of choice (dived into two)
  • 1 teaspoon / 5ml Vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon / 2g Salt

Note: Russian tea cakes may be too sweet for someone on a sugar free diet. Consider skipping the added sweetener to the dough and use only the sweetness of the dusting.

How to make Russian tea cake

Pro tip

Roast nuts in a 350°F / 180°C oven for 10 &ndash 15 minutes.

Old school

  1. Chop the nuts to convenient size. We can use a mixture of nuts or our favorite one.
  2. Add flour, butter, half of the sweetener, vanilla extract, salt and the chopped nuts into a mixing bowl.
  3. Knead everything together.
  4. Roll the dough into a log so it will be easier to measure out similar sized balls.
  5. Measure out the desired sized balls. We like walnut sized balls that are about 0.7 oz / 20g.
  6. Roll the dough into balls then place them onto a parchment lined baking tray.
  7. Place them into a 375°F / 180°C oven until golden brown spots start to appear on them for about 30 minutes. Later they will be a bit more forgiving but now handle them with care.
  8. Spread the other half of the powdered sweetener on a tray and roll the hot balls into until all sides are covered.
  9. Sift a bit more powdered sweetener over the cookies then serve.

New school &ndash Keto

  1. Chop the nuts to convenient size. We can use a mixture of nuts or our favorite one.
  2. Add flour, butter, half of the sweetener, vanilla extract, salt and the chopped nuts into a mixing bowl.
  3. Knead everything together.
  4. Roll the dough into a log so it will be easier to measure out similar sized balls.
  5. Measure out the desired sized balls. We like walnut sized balls that are about 0.7 oz / 20g.
  6. Roll the dough into balls then place them onto a parchment lined baking tray.
  7. Place them into a 375°F / 180°C oven until golden brown spots start to appear on them for about 30 minutes. Later they will be a bit more forgiving but now handle them with care.
  8. Spread the other half of the powdered sweetener on a tray and roll the hot balls into until all sides are covered.
  9. Sift a bit more powdered sweetener over the cookies then serve.


What Are Russian Tea Cakes?

What do you call these cookies? I&rsquove heard a variety of different terms for classic Snowball cookies. Some call them Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cakes, and I&rsquove even heard some call them butter balls.

Russian Tea Cakes (or snowball cookies) are commonly baked around the holiday season. They are a form of Jumble which was a popular cookie pastry made in the Middle Ages. Jumbles were popular during that time because they traveled and kept so well, thanks to their hard nature being made with nuts or seeds.

Although in the Middle Ages they were known to keep these cookies around for a year without becoming stale, I dare you to keep them around for a week without eating them all up!

Other nuts can be used in this recipe (like walnuts), but I prefer using pecans for these cookies. You want to make sure they are finely chopped, so they don&rsquot overwhelm the cookies. Simply take a handful and throw them in your food processor. A few pulses later you&rsquoll have the exact consistency that you want.

Menus & Tags

Be the first to review this recipe

You can rate this recipe by giving it a score of one, two, three, or four forks, which will be averaged out with other cooks' ratings. If you like, you can also share your specific comments, positive or negative - as well as any tips or substitutions - in the written review space.

Epicurious Links

Condé Nast

Legal Notice

© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved.

Use of and/or registration on any portion of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated as of 1/1/21).

The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast.


1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar for dough
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pecans or walnuts, very finely ground (I have always used walnuts, much cheaper)
Powdered Sugar for coating after baking

Cream together butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and salt in a separate bowl. Add about a 1/2 cup at a time to creamed mixture, mixing well after each addition. Stir in nuts.

Form dough into 1 inch balls. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool briefly. While still warm, roll in powdered sugar.

As a note, I just love my Pampered Chef food chopper! I use it to easily chop nuts and chocolate during this baking season.


  1. Tzuriel

    I apologize, but I think you are wrong. I can prove it. Write to me in PM, we will discuss.

  2. Kinser

    Absolutely with you it agree. I think, what is it excellent idea.

  3. Lany

    It's just excellent thinking

  4. Ctesippus

    Congratulations, I think this brilliant idea

  5. Stearc

    Excuse for that I interfere... At me a similar situation. Is ready to help.

Write a message