Crazy for Crust

Mom’s Russian Tea Cakes

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These are my Mom’s Famous Russian Tea Cakes! They’re the perfect Christmas cookie.

Russian Tea Cakes - my mom's famous recipe! | crazyforcrust.com

Mom’s just do it better, right? Your mom’s recipe for something is just the best one, period.

These Russian Tea Cakes are no exception to that rule!

My mom has been making these longer than I’ve been alive. I call them her Famous Russian Tea Cakes because she’s always the one that makes them – and they’re always expected (and requested!) at parties. She makes them for Christmas, for Easter, for every holiday…and just because it’s a Tuesday.

Now, if you ask her about her recipe, she’ll tell you she got it during her home economics class back in school. She got a treasure trove of recipes from that class: coffee cake, banana bread, meringues. As a kid I’d rifle through her recipe box and in neat cursive script were all these recipes on index cards with her name up in the corner. So many recipes on this blog are based on those recipes.

I’m sort of jealous of her Home Ec class. When I was in mine in the seventh grade, all we made were sloppy joes that turned out cold and disgusting (seriously, I didn’t eat another sloppy joe for about 25 years) and a pillow that looks like a phone that my mom sewed for me. #idontsew #thesewingmachinehatesme

So thank you, Home Ec teacher. These Russian Tea Cakes have made many a Christmas. And now I’m sharing them with you!

Russian Tea Cakes - my mom's famous recipe! | crazyforcrust.com

Now, you may be scratching your head and wondering why the heck I’m calling these a Russian Tea Cake. It’s what I grew up calling them. Only a few years ago, after I started blogging, did I realize there are several names for these cookies:

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Snowballs

Butterballs

Whatever you call them, they’re good. They’re super buttery and rich, probably because the ratio of butter to sugar is 2:1. Normally in cookies, there is more sugar than butter. These are all butter baby!

So, then, why don’t they flatten? Well, probably because there’s also lots of flour. Flour is a binder. These cookies have no egg, but they do have nuts in them. The classic Snowball/Russian Tea Cake is made with butter, powdered sugar, flour, and nuts. I used pecans, because they’re my favorite. You can also use walnuts or almonds.

Did you know you can stuff these cookies with candy? Mmm-hmmmm. I’ve done it with Reese’s. (Those are good. Go pin them. I’ll wait….)

Russian Tea Cakes - my mom's famous recipe! | crazyforcrust.com

After baking, these cookies get a roll in powdered sugar. You do it while the cookie is still hot (careful of burning your fingers!) so the sugar sticks.

Many of you might wonder how I got my powdered sugar to look so powdery and not melted into the cookie. The secret: The Double Roll. Once cooled, roll the cookies a second time. Then they are powdery to the extreme.

These are a super rich, buttery, crumbly cookie. I use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop to make them evenly sized. You have a cookie scoop, right? If not, add it to your Christmas list. Santa needs to bring you one! (I have three: 1 tablespoon, 2 tablespoon, and 1/4 cup. You should ask for all of them!)

My mom loves to make these more bite sized. She uses her cookie scoop, then cuts each cookie in half. You get double the cookies and they’re perfect for a one-bite treat. No powdered sugar or crumbly mess anywhere. Great with kids. 🙂 #omgpowderedsugareverywhere

I know your family will love these as much as mine does. They’ll become a fixture on your holiday table, just like ours!

Russian Tea Cakes - my mom's famous recipe! | crazyforcrust.com

 Enjoy!

4.5 from 2 votes
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Servings: 48 cookies

Mom’s Russian Teacakes

This is my Mom's famous Russian Teacake recipe! This classic recipe is a family favorite, wether you call them snowballs or teacakes or wedding cookies!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter — softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts — pecans, walnuts, or almonds
  • Powdered sugar for rolling

Instructions

  1. Preaheat oven to 375°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix butter, ½ cup powdered sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together. Stir in the nuts. If dough is too soft, chill it until you can work it easily with your hands.
  3. Scoop 1 tablespoon balls of dough and place on prepared cookie sheet.
  4. Bake cookies for 7-8 minutes until bottoms are just slightly brown. Remove from oven and cool for just a minute, until you can handle them. Fill a small bowl with powdered sugar and roll each cookie in the sugar until coated.
  5. Place on a rack to cool. (Once cookies are cooled, you may want to re-roll them in more powdered sugar.)

See more of my snowball recipes here!

Reese’s Stuffed SnowballsReese's Stuffed Snowballs (1 of 2)w

Chocolate Chip Snowballs

Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies (2 of 4)w

Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Snowballs

Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Snowballs (2 of 4)w

Funfetti Wedding Cookies

Cake Batter Wedding Cookies (4 of 6)

Sweets from friends:
 Chocolate Peanut Butter Shortbread Bites by TidyMom
Flourless Fluffernutter Marshmallow Peanut Butter Thumbprints by Cupcakes and Kale Chips
Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies by Something Swanky

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171 comments

  1. I grew up eating these too but we called them Russian Tea Cookies. I didn’t like them with nuts, so my mom made some with and some without nuts. Brings back a lot of good memories and will definitely make them this Christmas. Thanks.

  2. These look super yummy. I may have to try the Reese’s version since Reese’s peanut butter cups are my very favorite candy.

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  4. Moms do make everything best! I’ve learned to stop trying to come up to the standard of Michael’s mom lol.

    and omg I’m jealous of your mom’s home ec class too! That’s awesome! and these cookies/russian tea cakes look perfect. I always associate them with Christmas 😀

  5. Have you tried these at all with gluten-free flour? I am looking at using a gluten-free flour mix from a box. I recently went gluten-free and it’s hard to find cookie recipes that don’t have flour in them.

  6. I love these cookies. They make me think so much of my childhood. We called them Mexican wedding cookies but the result is still the same. So tasty!

  7. These look delicious! I love the fact that most of the ingredients are things you’d commonly have around the house. After I stock up on groceries I’ll definitely try them. Thank you!

  8. This cookie needs to show up in my mothers kitchen every year for Christmas otherwise it just doesn’t seem right! We call them snowballs or more commonly, “those cookies mom makes every year.” Love these!

  9. Girl, these cookies rock! i’ll try them tomorrow and make them for my son’s 3rd birthday on sunday. Thanks for sharing!

  10. These are one of my favorite cookies to make each year too…except I don’t ever use nuts in mine or roll them in powdered sugar. Powdered sugar everywhere doesn’t sound like fun with kids…although I like your mom’s idea to cut them in half so you can just pop them!

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