The Best Russian Tea Cakes Recipe

We created the best Russian Tea Cakes recipe made with browned butter, toasted pecans and maple syrup, and then double rolled in powdered sugar.


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There are a number of similar cookies, such as Snowballs, Mexican wedding cookies, and in our house Finnish cookies. Tony’s mother is half Finnish and she remembers her Finnish Grandmother making them when she was a child, so she has always called them Finnish cookies. They are a family tradition, and we make them every year at celebrations. Over the years we have made a few changes to her Grandmother’s version, though. This version is made with pecans and maple syrup, ingredients that are native to America, so maybe we should probably call them American cookies at this point, but we are not going to mess with tradition that much.

The Best Russian Tea Cakes Recipe
The Best Russian Tea Cakes Recipe

We updated the recipe to give the cookies more flavor and to make this a sustainable recipe that a baker who is worried about climate change can feel good about.

FLAVOR – The nuts were toasted, the butter was browned, the vanilla was doubled, maple syrup was added, and the sugar was homemade superfine sugar to give the cookies a sweetness without the pasty texture of powdered sugar. Each of these changes added a little more flavor.

Tips for making the best Russian Tea Cakes RECIPE

  • MEASURE INGREDIENTS BY WEIGHT USING A SCALE – this is very important. Cookies are small, so a small error can make a big difference. Additionally, measuring by weight is so much easier and more accurate.
  • USE THE BRANDS LISTED IN THE RECIPE – cookies contain only a few ingredients, so each ingredient matters enormously. Flour varies in protein and moisture content, butter varies in water content and sugar varies in size and texture and in the amount of refinement. All of these things effect the way the cookie will bake. The recipes were created and tested using the brands listed and changing the brands can lead to errors. For details about the importance of using a specific brand, check out the information on page about better ingredients.
  • USE AN OVEN THERMOMETER – The temperature of the oven can vary greatly from what the oven is set to.
  • MAKE THE INGREDIENTS AHEAD OF TIME – This recipe is much easier if the sugar is ground, the butter is browned (beurre noisette), and the nuts are toasted ahead of time. We do all of this ahead and have a supply on hand in the pantry or refrigerator.
  • MAPLE SUGAR – These cookies are known for being crumbly because of the amount of nuts in them and because the only water in the recipe is from the butter. By browning the butter, we have removed the small amount of water that was in the butter. By adding the maple sugar, we are adding back some water. The maple sugar is added to the flour and the flour is allowed to sit for five minutes in order to activate the gluten in the flour so the cookies are not too crumbly. This is a tip we learned from Shirley O. Corriher‘s book “Bakewise”. The maple sugar also adds some extra flavor and sweetness to the cookies.
The Best Russian Tea Cakes Recipe
The Best Russian Tea Cakes Recipe

How the best Russian Tea Cakes recipe fits in with our plan to EAT BETTER:

We chose ingredients that are produced sustainably and with a low carbon footprint. Instead of walnuts or almonds, we used pecans, a native nut that was grown in Texas with a low impact on the environment. The brand of sugar and butter were chosen for taste, but also for the companies efforts to combat climate change. We are making an effort to solve the climate crisis, one cookie at a time.

No Affiliates Statement

We call this our “no affiliates” statement because we accept no advertising, have no affiliates and accept no payment. We are not paid to mention brands – we just love buying the best, sharing that information and saving the planet at the same time. The effort put into writing and photographing the blog is solely based on our dedication to the cause.


The Best Russian Tea Cakes Recipe
The Best Russian Tea Cakes Recipe


The Best Russian Tea Cakes Recipe

THE BEST RUSSIAN TEA CAKE RECIPE

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Finnish
Keyword: cookie
Servings: 24
Calories: 221kcal
Author: Lisa LeCoump

CHOOSING BRANDS:

For certain products, the choice of brand will make a big difference in the outcome of the recipe and in your carbon footprint. So, for those products, we have listed the brand. We are not paid to mention a brand and have no affiliates.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Allow the ingredients to come to room temperature (about 65 degrees). This may take about an hour.
  • Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. This may take about half an hour.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Measure the flour into a bowl.
  • Sprinkle the maple syrup over the top of the flour and stir.
  • Add the salt to the flour mixture.
  • Using the food processor, finely grind half the pecans, stopping before they start to clump. Do not over process the nuts or they will become nut butter. Add the ground pecans to the flour mixture.
  • Using the food processor, coarsely chop the rest of the pecans. Add the chopped pecans to the flour mixture and stir the flour and nuts together.
  • Using a stand mixer with a paddle, soften the butter by beating it on medium for about a minute. Do not let the temperature of the butter exceed 68 degrees F.
  • Add the sugar and cream the butter and sugar on medium for about three minutes, until the mixture is light colored and fluffy.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla, mixing just until the vanilla is incorporated.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low just until mixed, about 30 seconds. Do not overwork the dough. Scraping down the sides and mix in any remaining flour by hand.
  • Roll the dough into balls about the size of a walnut and place on the baking sheet about two inches apart.
  • Bake until they are set, but not browning, about 20 minutes.
  • Allow the cookies to cool for a minute on the baking sheet.
  • Place the powdered sugar in a bowl and carefully roll each cookie, one at a time, in the powdered sugar to coat it and then place it on a rack to cool.
  • When the cookies have cooled, reroll each cookie in the powdered sugar and then give them a final dusting of powdered sugar by sifting some over the top of the cookies.

Nutrition

Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 110mg | Potassium: 54mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 241IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg

WHY THIS RECIPE IS SUSTAINABLE:

Check out the chart below to see how food choices affect climate change.

By Hannah Ritchie - https://ourworldindata.org/food-choice-vs-eating-local, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=114706754

By Hannah Ritchie – https://ourworldindata.org/food-choice-vs-eating-local, CC BY-SA 4.0

https://tonyfitzgeraldphotography.com/2022/06/15/the-best-russian-tea-cakes-recipe/
Tried this recipe?Show us on Instagram and Mention @tonyfitzgeraldphotography
Nutrition Facts
THE BEST RUSSIAN TEA CAKE RECIPE
Amount per Serving
Calories
221
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
14
g
22
%
Saturated Fat
 
5
g
31
%
Trans Fat
 
0.3
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
6
g
Cholesterol
 
20
mg
7
%
Sodium
 
110
mg
5
%
Potassium
 
54
mg
2
%
Carbohydrates
 
22
g
7
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
13
g
14
%
Protein
 
2
g
4
%
Vitamin A
 
241
IU
5
%
Vitamin C
 
0.1
mg
0
%
Calcium
 
11
mg
1
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

While traveling we discovered that lots of countries have a version of these cookies. Some places they are snowballs, in Mexico they are Mexican wedding cookies, in our house they are Finnish cookies. We researched the science and techniques behind the recipe and used tips from exceptional chefs. Then we used the best ingredients we could find to create this recipe. For more ideas, see our other posts about recipes inspired by travel.

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