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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! |

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! |

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



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! |

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! |


4.75 from 8 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!


  • 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


  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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  1. these are one of my favorite holiday cookies!

  2. Dorothy, these are my mom’s favorites too, only I have to make them and they have to have walnuts and we call them snowballs! And when I make her batch this weekend, I am totally taking some of the dough and stuffing mini Reese’s inside like the recipe you linked here. That might be my new favorite cookie!

  3. How funny, this is one of my mom’s favorite holiday recipes too! I love them so much 🙂

  4. I do believe I will be making these tonight! I’ve made some similar before so thanks for jogging my memory…or tickling my tastebuds as the case may be!

  5. That’s so special that your mom’s recipes came from her home ec class! (And even sweeter that a lot of your recipes are based off of those. 🙂 ) I remember sewing a pillow too — shaped like two peas in a pod — but we didn’t make sloppy joes. We baked a chocolate cake with fudgy frosting instead!

  6. Thanks for the recipe. I am a cook, but do not usuallly bake and am thinking of baking this year. These were always my favorite! How long do these keep? Can they be frozen? Perhaps you could roll them in sugar once, then freeze, defrost and roll them again? Thanks,

    • I’ve frozen them! I place them between paper towels, and then let them defrost still between the towels to absorb moisture. And yes, they may need another roll in sugar. But they’ll be awesome!

      • Just to be clear with regards to freezing… it looks like I complete the recipe, including 2 rolls in sugar, THEN freeze, then after defrosted, add another roll in sugar if necessary?  

      • Yes! If you know your freezing (as in, not serving any just freezing) you can omit any rolling in sugar before freezing and just roll after you defrost. 🙂

  7. I was pretty excited about finding these. While I play MMORPG games at night we sit around and talk about baking. One of the other ladies mentioned this and I was intrigued until I saw the nuts. we have to exclude those since we have nut allergy in the family! This looks wonderful, thank you!

  8. I just made these and they are great – just like my mom used to make! I was concerned that the dough was too crumbly but it was fine. I also did the “Double Roll” with the powdered sugar and they came out perfectly. The recipe is definitely a keeper 🙂

  9. Pingback: Totally Random Bits of Info #5 |

  10. I love this recipe from Russian Tea Cakes to Wedding cookies yo Snowballs they all seem to have the same ingredients. Last year I decided to change things up a little. I made a double batch then split the dough three ways. One third of the dough stayed plain the second third of the dough I added a few drops of red food coloring and the last third I added a few of green food coloring. Following the recipe except for the coloring. Rolling into balls. When done you will have some red green and plain white balls you can even add candy sprinkles to the dough for more color. Making your cookie tray or presentation bright and shiny.
    Happy Holidays

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