Shortbread and I don’t really get along.
We’re frenemies, if you will.
See, I love to eat shortbread. Buttery, crispy, tender. With a cup of tea or coffee? I’m in heaven. Coated in chocolate or filled with nuts? I’m in double heaven.
But shortbread doesn’t seem to love me. I can follow a recipe to its exacting specifications. I can make my own modifications. Either way, it doesn’t matter, the dough won’t turn out. It’ll spread or be too dry, it’s just never quite right.
Maybe it’s more like unrequited love than a frenemies situation then. Because I love shortbread, but it doesn’t love me. Sigh.
Luckily, these little fellas are here to rescue me from a life of loneliness. They love me just as much as I love them! And they’re easier than any shortbread recipe I’ve tried and turn out every.single.time.
They’re dependable, loyal, a hit with the whole family. Everything I’ve been looking for in the right partner, er…I mean, cookie! Where was I…?
Right, cookies! These Russian Tea Cakes! Or Swedish Tea Cakes. Or Mexican Wedding Cookies. Whatever you want to call them. (A rose by any other name, afterall.) They’re buttery and nutty and subtly sweet, they absolutely melt in your mouth. You can use pecans or walnuts, or a mixture of both!
Plus, unlike those pesky shortbread recipes, there’s no chilling or waiting for the dough to be ready. Just blend, scoop and bake! Of course, if you wanted to, you can blend, scoop and freeze then just pop the frozen cookies onto a baking sheet when you’re feeling a bit heartsick and bake them up fresh.
Eat your heart out, it’s ok.
Russian Tea Cakes
(Makes 4 dozen small cookies)
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
6 TBSP sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups finely chopped nuts (either pecans or walnuts, or a mixture of both)
Powdered sugar for rolling
Reheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar, set aside.
Cream together butter and vanilla. Add dry ingredients, mix until blended. Stir in nuts until a crumbly dough forms.
Using a small cookie scoop, portion out dough onto prepared cookie sheets, leaving 1 inch between cookies.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until the bottoms of the cookie are a light golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on rack for a few minutes, until cool enough to handle. Generously coat in powdered sugar. Allow to cool to room temperature and then coat again in powdered sugar.
Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for three days.