Baking · Cookies · Desserts

Russian Tea Cakes

These cookies have many names. People call them Mexican Wedding Cakes, Italian Butter Nut, Southern Pecan Butterballs, Snowdrops, Viennese Sugar Balls and Snowballs. They are pretty much the same thing. Nuts and butter…with a little sugar and flour to hold them together. You can make these delights with any nut you like, I prefer the slightly bitter walnuts as an offset to the richness of the butter and sweetness of the sugar. Whatever nut you use,  the key is to grind up the nuts as finely as possible. The bigger your nut chunks, the harder it will be to get the dough to hold together. Pulse them in the food processor until they are about the size of couscous. Maybe just a wee-bit smaller. Like this:

Finely Ground Walnuts

Chopping the nuts that fine will enable the dough to blend together nicely and form good rounded cookies. A double coating of powdered sugar is also a must. I just use a Ziploc (or paper) bag…throw the sugar in, and a few cookies at a time – shake it up. Do the second sugar-coating just before serving. These bite sized cookies quite literally melt in your mouth. They should practically dissolve on your tongue in a shower of buttery rich goodness.

Russian Tea Cakes

1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar for decoration


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, cream butter and vanilla until smooth. Combine the 6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar and flour; stir into the butter mixture until just blended. Mix in the chopped walnuts. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven until edges are just golden. When cool, roll in remaining confectioners’ sugar. I also like to roll mine in the sugar a second time.

2 thoughts on “Russian Tea Cakes

    1. Perfect indeed. Double bonus for me. I’m a big mouth – I can fit a whole cookie in there and let it just dissolve. Mmmmmm.

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