Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Russian Tea Cookies

Every year at Christmas time, my mom would bake cookies. I know that most of you had the same thing happen at your house as well, but Mom baking cookies was a big deal. My mom will be the first person to tell you that she doesn't really enjoy cooking. The kitchen is not her place to go to relax away her troubles (as it is mine). So, when my mom baked cookies, it was a rarity that my sister and I would get so excited over.

My mom makes a few select cookies around Christmas and I always remember that her Russian Tea cookies (or Snowballs, as I called them when I was little) were my favorites. I got to help her roll the cookies in the powdered sugar and could eat one while it was still warm. When I started cooking Christmas cookies, I knew that the Russian Tea cookies would be one of my staples every year.

What I just recently found out is that, not only has my mom made them almost every year for Christmas, her mom (Grandma) made them every year when my mom was little and that my great-grandma (Mama) also made them, which is where Grandma got the recipe. What a fabulous recipe to be handing down to the daughters of our family!

The ingredients:
1 C. butter (soft); 1/2 C. confectioner's sugar (plus more for rolling); 2 1/4 C. flour; 1 tsp. vanilla; 1/4 tsp. salt; 3/4 C. pecans, chopped. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Start by mixing the powdered sugar and the butter...
till it looks like this:
Add the flour, vanilla, salt and pecans.
Mix. Now, take this dough (which will be very dry and crumbly) and chill it for an hour or two.
Once it's chilled, take the dough (which will still be dry and crumbly, now just cold as well) and squish them in your hand till you have a dough like texture and roll them into one inch balls. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Once the cookies have cooked and are still warm, take them and roll them into the powdered sugar.
Like so.
Place on wax paper and allow them to cool.
Once they're cool, roll them again in powdered sugar. See, I re-rolled the one on the right and it's much more snowball-esque.These are a bit more time consuming to roll than some of my other cookie recipes, but they are one of my favorite cookies.
Warning: these cookies are messy! Don't eat them on a first date. Or when you're wearing all black. Unless you care nothing of messes all over your face and clothing, then by all means, scarf them down happily!


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