russian tea cakes

I know that two days after Christmas, it’s impossible to be anything but cookie-d out, but I implore you to make room for just two more: one flawless recipe, and one baker’s trick that everyone should have in their repertoires.

cookie reflecting pool

The first is Russian Tea Cakes, also known as Mexican Wedding Cakes, also known as polvorones and, no doubt, dozens of other things. I just call them dreamy. Toasted nuts are ground into a fine powder — the Russian-style seems to call more often for hazelnuts, the Mexican ones typically demand pecans, but I’d argue you could use anything from walnuts to almonds (I bet those marcona ones would be dreamy) to Brazil or macadamia nuts — mixed into a fairly un-sweet butter cookie base, baked in little balls and then rolled, still warm in a cloud of powdered sugar, sometimes enhanced with a sprinkle of cinnamon. They melt in your mouth. They keep well for even two weeks, tasting better as they age. I think if I were a nut, and I suspect we know that I am, this is how I’d like to be showcased, even if it would mean a certain demise in many a gaping maw.


I made the cookies this time with hazelnuts, but confess that I liked them better when I made them last year with pecans — perhaps it’s their higher oily content? Next I’d like to try them with my favorite, walnuts. Epicurious has two recipes for these cookies, one labeled “Russian” one labeled “Mexican” and they are exactly the same except for two things: the Russian ones have a quarter-cup of additional nuts replacing a quarter-cup of flour, and the Mexican ones suggest you add an eighth of a teaspoon of cinnamon to the powdered sugar. As I’ve loved both (not realizing they were nearly identical until later), I am torn over which to share so below, I am combining the two. Evidently, today is Walk on the Wild Side Day here at Smitten Kitchen.


Finally, the baker’s trick: A couple weeks ago, I made those wee chocolate tartlets with a pate sucree so good, I couldn’t part with it. To keep myself from eating it raw — though we all know I still did — I rolled it out, cut it with cookie cutters, brushed the tops with cream and sprinkled coarse sugar on them. I didn’t have enough to do this, but they would have made perfect sandwich cookies, filled with some ganache or seedless raspberry jam. The moral of the story: waste not those scraps! I don’t mean to seem superficial, but pretty much anyone who brings me a tin filled with a pile of sparkly homemade cookies is guaranteed to be asked over again. Isn’t it the same for everyone?

remnant sparkles

Russian Tea Cakes [a.k.a. Mexican Wedding Cakes or Polvorones]
Adapted from Epicurious

Makes about 4 dozen

1 cup (8 ounces or 225 grams) butter, room temperature
2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
2 cups (250 grams) all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (updated!)
1 cup (about 110 grams) pecans, hazelnuts or other nuts, toasted and finely ground (if using hazelnuts, wrap in a dishtowel while still warm and roll about until most of the brown skins come off)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until well blended. Beat in flour, salt, and then nuts. Divide dough in half; form each half into ball. Wrap separately in plastic; chill until cold, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and cinnamon, if using, in pie dish to blend. Set cinnamon sugar aside.

Working with half of chilled dough, roll dough by 2 teaspoonfuls between palms into balls. Arrange balls on heavy large baking sheet, spacing 1/2 inch apart. Bake cookies until golden brown on bottom and just pale golden on top, about 18 minutes. Cool cookies 5 minutes on baking sheet. Gently toss warm cookies in cinnamon sugar to coat completely. Transfer coated cookies to rack and cool completely. Repeat procedure with remaining half of dough. (Cookies can be prepared 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature; reserve remaining cinnamon sugar.)

Sift remaining cinnamon sugar over cookies and serve.

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117 comments on russian tea cakes

  1. Cupcakes

    We Italians also have a version.. ‘Italian Wedding Cookies”.. we make them with almonds and shape them into a crescent shape.. A big time favorite anytime of the year. If you make a batch, freeze them in balls.. you can take them out anytime and have a few with some tea… yum.

    are you going to be doing “slivers” this year?

    (wish me luck on the gourges and the parmesan biscotti, we’re having a retro new years eve party.. complete with cheesy music, cheesy outfits and cheesy fondue)

  2. deb

    Ah, and my best friend’s mother always makes Maida Heatter’s Austrian Walnut Crescents which sound very similar, and are my absolute favorite.

    Slivers, gah. Must I?

  3. I almost forgot:
    OMG how excited are you for the effin Rodeo?

    The vision of our crew at this event is keeping me happy in my cookieless life all day….

    aha aha a a hah ahah a hah ah ah

  4. I don´t think I´ve ever seen those “Mexican-Russian-whatever” cookies before, but they look dreamy. Definitely with cinammon for me, you can never go wrong with cinammon.

    And the pate sucre cookies are childhood favorites of mine. My mom used to make the dough (with a few teaspoons of lemon zest) and let me play with all the cute cutters she had. We would sprinkle them with loads of sugar and eat them warm… they would just melt in my mouth… ok, I´m officially craving buttery cookies now.

  5. tammy

    I’m just wondering, where do you possibly find the time to do all this – I only wish I could do as much cooking as you do… Perhaps that can be my New Years Resolution!

  6. deb

    Jocelyn – SO EXCITED. There are no words. Everyone else: As the worst possible idea for a Welcome Home we could possibly think of for Jocelyn, we’ve decided to buy tickets for this. Even if you tell me you’re not jealous, I still don’t believe you.

    Marce – I think they’ll taste more familiar, just buttery awesome cookies with ground nuts. Also, if Alex doesn’t take the leftovers to work tomorrow, he’s going to have to ROLL me down those stairs. You hear that, honey?

    Phc – Yay! I can’t wait to see the chalky-faced Olive pictures. :)

    Tammy – Ugh, well, I don’t have much of a life. Also, I try to plan ahead. Like, okay, gym on Monday, so I’ll make the biscotti on Tuesday, gym on Wednesday, but we’ll eat take-out so I have time to try one more recipe (this being last week and trying to make a few different treats for the party in the order of what would store the best). And I bank stuff a little, like I haven’t had a chance yet to tell y’all about the ridiculous dinner I made last night. Also, like I said, I don’t have much of a life.

  7. I love Mexican wedding cakes! And that sounds like a good idea for saving the scraps. I always hate feeling wasteful with them.

    Also, it takes a lot to cookie me out.

    So, thank you for sharing.

  8. See, and there I was feeling guilty about eating yet more (and more) cookies, enough so that I pulled out some dough sitting in the fridge, and I actually baked it into new cookies *after* christmas goodie distribution was finished. More tempting still, there is the coconut sitting on the counter just waiting to be toasted and formed into macaroons… and the peach jam for the lintzer cookies I just didn’t have time to finish… I actually just posted about this today on my own blog: oh how I am obsessed with cookies! These look wonderful too! Too many recipes and too little time. And that’s a nifty trick to use up scraps too

  9. Janie

    I am a Italian/Irish girl who married into a Mexican family and they always buy these cookies at weddings and other big occassions. Everyone always fusses over them! I am so excited to try this recipe for my husband (because we live 3000 miles away from his family) and also to perfect them and then offer to make them when we visit his family and hopefully score some points with the mother-in-law!

  10. Jo

    I just made these with my mom at home. We make them every year, but we call them Snowballs. They’re my dad’s favorite. But our recipe differs pretty significantly.

    Same butter, vanilla, and nut amounts. But 4 cups of flour, and only a couple tablespoons of sugar. We chop our nuts, instead of grinding them. All ingredients are combined by hand (my favorite part as a child), rolled and then baked. While warm, they are tossed a few at a time in a bag w/ powdered sugar, then again for a second coating. They come out nutty and sweet (but not too much) and melt in your mouth.

  11. Liz

    My mom makes the best Russian Tea Cakes and she’s always made them with walnuts. This year, she substituted pecans, and if she hadn’t told me I’m not sure I would have been able to tell the difference. (Although side by side, I’m sure they’re very different. But that’s what you get when you only taste a cookie once a year.)

  12. Hurrah! Something I already know how to make!! Those Mexican Wedding Cakes/Russian Tea Cakes are a Christmas tradition in my house…my fingers still hurt when I think of tossing the hot cookies in powdered sugar! An excellent choice!

  13. kim

    From what I’ve read… the oilier nuts create more tender cookies. Personally, I’m passionate about almonds, but they don’t work at all for tea cakes.
    Ahww… geez.
    Now I’m craving my almond nut cookie; coated in powdered sugar.

  14. I’m way late to the cookie exchange here, but just had to comment on these; one of my earliest childhood memories (and I’m 53!) is helping my mother grind the walnuts for the dozens and dozens of her version of this cookie she made only at Christmas every year. She simply called them “Nut Balls” and back in the 50s there were no smutty/funny connotations to that name. We used to grind the nuts in an old-fashioned hand-cranked meat grinder, the kind you clamp to the kitchen counter. One year my grandmother gave Mom several pounds of nuts already ground, and Mom had real tears of gratitude in her eyes – it was a generous gift, both of labor and money saved. And I don’t think she bothered with rolling them in sugar, maybe because my father never liked confectioner’s sugar or maybe she just thought it was too messy. But even unadorned they are one of the best Christmas cookies around, so buttery and tender.

  15. Nickii

    We make these every year and they are my favorite also. Instead of grinding up the nuts, we make the dough and wrap it around the whole hazelnut. This is the way my grandmother did it (and probably her’s before her).
    Thank you for a great read every morning.

  16. Ardeth

    You’re recipes sound fabulous and at my age (77) I have seen and used hundreds of recipes but for my Christmas Cookies I always make “My Sister-in-law’s Moth Balls” as my youngsters called them and now so do the grandchildren. The only thing different that my recipe calls for is 3 Tablespoons of regular white granulated sugar instead of the powdered sugar which we like best. I have made both but the one with regular sugar just seems to have a better texture for us and I also have used pecans but walnuts are our favorite. Love your website.

  17. simcoi

    I made these cookies last night. Russian tea balls are one of my family’s Christmas traditions, well mom’s from Cincinnati. Our recipe is quadrupled and every year I utter, “holy cow FIVE sticks of butter!” Cook while watching It’s a Wonderful Life for the full effect. As I remember walnuts make the cookies a little bitter. the hazelnut sounds delicious.

  18. Elizabeth

    This discussion of hazelnuts/pecans/walnuts brings back fond memories. When making this type of cookie for friends who don’t or won’t eat nuts, a beloved friend and great baker would substitute canned fried chow mein noodles. Just crumble them up a bit. The crunchiness, the oiliness, the nuttiness of fried noodles work beautifully as a substitution. Yes, you purists who are not allergic to nuts can turn your nose at the idea, but for the rest of us it’s a delightful and surprising addition.

  19. shantiquax

    I stumbled upon this site with Stumble!, and whoo am I glad. My grandson loves Mexican Wedding cookies. There’s a patisserie extraordinaire a block away, and whenever we walk past, he asks if he can get a “white cookie”. And they’re always out. No other cookie will take its place, as far as the kid is concerned. Until reading your recipe, I didn’t realize that even I, a retired-from-cooking gramma, can make these!

  20. Chef Lea at Carnelian Rose Tea House

    I loved making these for high tea but due to food alergies i usually left out the nuts completely and substituted 2 teaspoons of lime zest. It’s amazingly light and fresh and a great compliment to the butter content of the cookie. you should try it!

  21. catherine

    We love the Mexican Tea cakes but our spin on the recipe is to put a chocolate morsel in the middle and roll the dough around it . We toss them in icing sugar when hot . I start getting requests for them in October .

  22. cara

    I made this recipe last night. They were the easiest cookies in the world to make. I was able to get all 4 dozens on my one cookie sheet to only have to bake one batch (loved that). I sampled a warm cookie freshly rolled in sugar and about passed out from the marvelous flavor in my mouth. Incredible!!! I gave them away today as Christmas gifts to the people I work with. I wrapped bundles of 4 cookies in cellophane and put them in handmade brown bags and handmade tags wrapped with country ribbon and yarn. They were a hit!! Everyone came by to say how scrumptious they were. A few even asked for the recipe. I told them about this website. I can’t wait to try another recipe from this website.

  23. applebranch

    the Mexican Tea Cakes were the winner of our Christmas cookies this year, beating out the Pfeffernuesse and the butter cookie cut-outs. Thanks!

  24. Celeste

    I made these last night (because wedding=romance=valentine’s day, right?) and they were a big hit at my house.

    Growing up Mexican American in deep South Texas; these cookies were a big part of childhood memories, through weddings (tiny piece of cake, pile of cookies). Seeing this recipe was one of my cooking moments (like marshmallows and pasta) – you can actually MAKE THOSE!

    Great recipe, very authentic.

  25. Ari

    I hate commenting on an old post, but I discovered your blog and I’ve been reading back through the archives. I wanted to mention that instead of using 1 cup nuts, I use the following in my Russian Tea Cakes:

    1/2 cup nuts (normally pecans)
    1/4 cup currants
    1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips

    We like it better, though it isn’t anywhere near to “traditional” since I changed up the recipe.

  26. Corinne

    I just found your blog, and the pictures are beautiful, I’m itching to try some of the recipes. I wanted to comment on this one because my grandmother makes a similar recipe to this that she calls Alexander Kuchen and makes little sandwiches with raspberry jam out of them. The moment you bite into those buttery little cookies is such bliss. I cant wait for the holidays.

  27. deb

    Corinne — I love the sound of that, and not just because my husband’s name is Alexander! If you’d in any way consider sharing the recipe, I’d love to give it a spin. Thanks!

  28. cathy

    Hi Deb…..i made these cookies for the first time this Christmas. They were a big hit. Everyone loved them. i called them snowballs though ’cause when you looked out the window-that’s all you saw. So glad i “discovered” your website.

  29. alexis

    i found your website through house and home magazine a while ago, and i just cant go a day without checking it.
    i’ve never found a food blog so inspiring without being pretenious.

    so here i am, happily sifting though the random recipes, and i find mexican wedding cakes!
    my mother made these for us every year for christmas for as long as i can remember, and no one i ever meet has ever heard of them. (which isnt so bad, because i can take more credit for them at parties)
    i’ve only ever made them with almonds, and am really intrigued at the thought of other ground nuts.
    you are too good!

  30. Vidya

    I made these tonight, and all I can say is that they’re amazing. I added a bit more powdered sugar to the dough, though, and a touch more flour. I used walnuts and they were deliciously aromatic and earthy. They’re similar to the Austrian/German vanillekipferl. I also experimented and made thumbprint cookies with a few, adding a spoonful of strawberry jam to the middle – they came out delicious as well.

  31. Trisha-Ann Shozuya

    I am from Hawaii and my mom’s recipe for this is named “Palama By The Sea Foam”. My mother and I had a cookie basket company named after my sister and these cookies were one of the cookies we featured. YUMMY!!
    I check out your site practically everyday since my friend Jamie recommended it. I LOVE IT!!

  32. diana

    The Russian tea cake looks amazing! But I was just wondering how did you shape them so nicely into a ball. I tried to make these, but most of them end up broken.

  33. finally, someone else who knows what russian tea cakes are! one of my favorite christmas pastimes is baking these with my mum. helping her roll out the balls of dough, pinching little bites when she turns her back, feeling full of holiday spirit and warmth as the powdered sugar falling onto the floor mirrors the snow piling up outside in our backyard. i still make these and give them as gifts every year – they’re the perfect balance of sweetness and lightness, and i’ve never encountered anyone who could just eat one. happy holidays!


  34. Ooh these were delightful! I made them with hazelnuts and loved the nutty kick. Did anyone have trouble getting the powdered sugar to stick? I tried both when they were still quite warm and once cooled, and I couldn’t do much to keep it from sliding off. Still delicious nonetheless!

  35. cb

    On the Russian Tea Cakes – can I take them as far as rolling into balls and then freeze for a few days before baking? I love these cookies and want to make for holiday baskets but need to do some things in advance. Thanks1!

  36. jorie

    made these over the weekend. oh my, the pecans were the winner. we always had these from our neighbors, but this is our first Christmas not with our family. you made it feel more like home.


  37. Aly

    I just made 12 dozen of these for a huge wedding rehearsal dinner/fiesta for my sister who got married. Everyone LOVED them and I was so glad I made so many! Thanks for a great recipe.

  38. Jessica

    I always always always wait until the tea cakes are cool before sugaring. I make dozens every year for Christmas (they’re always first on the baking list, and no matter how many I make, always the first to go), and I’ve found that dipping in sugar while too warm leads to ooey-gooey-melty sugar mess. I usually do two rounds- one while still slightly (just barely!) warm, and one a bit later. Because you can’t have too much powdered sugar coating.

    You’ve also inspired me to try hazelnuts this year! I’ve actually never seen a recipe that used them (always pecans or walnuts) and that sounds fabulous. Of the other nuts, though, I do prefer pecans- you referenced the higher oil content- I agree, somehow I think it makes a less crumbly cookie. I also prefer the sweeter taste of the pecans (especially in such a…not-sweet dough) to the bitterness of the walnuts.

    And a closing comment- OMG I just love these cookies so much, and now I want to make some right now. Sadly, me + new apartment = limited supplies and space. Guess I’ll wait till December and the benefit of my sweet mother’s much large collection of culinary devices!

  39. Autumn

    I just made these this evening, looking for something with butter but no eggs, to bring to a dinner at an apartment where I might become a subletter. No one got to taste any before I left (including me, but I’d had one right out of the oven!), but there was praise over the way they looked. I can personally attest to their addictiveness and delicious smell and taste. I chopped walnuts by hand and then ground them in a bowl with a rounded-bottom glass cup. The only complaint I have is they taste slightly–just slightly–chalky, floury. It’s not bad. I think next time I make them I’ll substitute some flour for extra nuts? Anyway, superb!

  40. cb @45 asked whether you can roll the dough into balls and freeze them to bake later. The answer is YES! it worked perfectly for me last year. I mixed, shaped and froze them and was able to pop a batch in the oven at a minute’s notice. I let the dough balls sit on the cookie sheet at room temp while the oven preheated — they didn’t thaw completely.

  41. Ilona

    I made these last night after making the jam crescents (also from this website) – needless to say, I was relieved they were a one bowl affair with very easy assembly. I used pecans instead of hazelnuts. They turned out very well – crumbly, buttery, nutty, and with just the right amount of sweetness. This recipe is definitely a keeper! I think I’d like to try them next time with hazelnuts, and with a whole hazelnut baked right in the center.

  42. Ashleigh

    As kids, when my mother would make these, we used to affectionately call them death balls…if you breathe in as you are taking a bite, you may choke because of the powdered sugar.

  43. Leigh

    I have always loved these cookies, but I just wanted to chime in that I made them this past Christmas with Marcona almonds, and they were INCREDIBLE!

  44. Karen

    I added a little salt, which I do to every dessert I make, and used almond meal, which I toasted in a dry skillet first. I also used whole wheat pastry flour, and the seeds from a whole vanilla bean. I hate grocery store cinnamon (cassia), but might try using Canela or true Ceylon cinnamon, if I can find it. I think either a little cayenne, or even finely ground black pepper mixed with the canela and powdered sugar would be an interesting combo.

  45. Stacey

    I am curious to know what the outcome would be if I ground and then toasted the nuts rather than toasting then grinding… Are they toasted before the grind as a sort of insurance against burning or is there some other reason? I’ve noticed this in most recipes and it may have to try the toasting after grinding sometime just to see what happens.

  46. Kara

    My family has been making russian tea cakes for as long as I can remember…the recipe out of the red marie callender’s cookbook from ages ago always makes splendid ones. Also I suggest you roll them into bite sized balls and then roll them twice in the powdered sugar… soooooo good!

  47. Cheryl

    These may be my new favorite cookies! I made them and your Margarita Cookies (oh wait, those are my favorite) for a Cinco de Mayo party last night. Esta bien.

  48. Helen

    My favorite Christmas cookies and my nephew too. I just made a batch, but mine always seem to flatten out a bit; they are perfectly round when they go in the oven, but then flatten a bit while cooking. Any tips for keeping them perfectly round? Thanks a bunch! (a bunch of cookies!)

  49. Virginia

    after dieting manically down to a size 4, i went to a Wassail celebration the other day … in one of the art galleries was a cheery christmas table laden with half a dozen lovely cookies (promising only joy and nary a calorie!) but off to one side a little clear plastic container filled with tiny white powdered sugar covered ball shaped cookies… i popped one into my mouth and heard a distinct voice telling me, “Hurry up! Eat another one before the boring Voice of Reason gets hold of you!” I did. And a third. Ah, cookie heaven……

  50. Beverly

    I’ve made this cookie off-an-on (depends on how much time I have for baking) for many years. A couple of years ago I made a batch with ground pecans for some very senior citizens in an assisted living facility. I tried a recipe from one of the recipe websites that added just a touch of salt to the batter. The salt did something magical for an old kind-of favorite; think of the effect salt can have on caramels, a trend these days. My vote is for ground pecans and salt.

  51. Growing up we had a kids’ cookbook with a Russian tea cakes recipe in it. The recipe called for walnuts, and it’s the only way I ever made it, and it was always delicious and melt-in-you-mouth good. I’d love to try pecans!

  52. Sarah

    Hi Deb! I was wondering if the nuts are supposed to be measured whole (i.e. pre-grinding-into-a-powder)?? Or if they should be measured after they’ve been grinded? Thanks!

  53. Sarah

    It’s okay. Thanks for the help! I just made them. And they were amazing! (especially the second batch – when I also added some spices (1/8 tsp. cinnamon, 1/10 tsp. nutmeg, 1/10 tsp. ginger) in the dough in addition to the cinnamon in the sugar topping!)

  54. Tom

    These have been a family favorite at our house for three generations. My recipe calls for 1 cup butter, 2 cups ground pecans, 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. The extra pecans make a big difference.

  55. Dawn

    my all time favorite! I’ve been searching for a recipe and came across yours and noticed that the powdered is so much more than the other recipes. most of the other recipes call for a half a cup. just wondering if the two cups of powdered sugar is correct.

  56. Marilou Garon

    My French-Canadian mother made these every Christmas when I was a child, with a slight variation: the little balls of dough are wrapped around a maraschino cherry. We called them Boules aux Cerises and it’s still my favorite Christmas cookie to this day! Needless to say, little children love them too, with the bright and sweet cherry surprise in the middle!

    1. deb

      Maryann — They don’t work interchangeably in recipes. However, you might be able to mince a few dates and stir them into the dough for flavoring.

  57. Theresa

    This was definitely a solid recipe. The cookies break apart in your mouth. I experimented with a slight variation however; I added 1 t of culinary lavender to the toasted pecans before chopping( I don’t have a food processor), and omitted the vanilla. That being said I really think this could be an amazing base recipe for many variants as the texture of these cookies really cannot be beat.

  58. Vicki

    Made these twice this Christmas, once for my son’s teacher cookie exchange and then once just for us because I was sad to give them away! I used walnuts instead of pecans, and subbed half wheat flour to trick myself into thinking they are healthy, and also to add a little extra nuttiness, so good!

  59. I’m going to try making these today! I love Mexican wedding cookies, but i notice some bakeries make them far superior to others. I wonder what accounts for the wide variation? Maybe it’s the type of nuts used – i’m going to use walnuts i think.

    As a side note, i LOVE your site Deb. I’m no expert cook/baker, and your recipes never lead me astray. I make the Guinness chocolate cake every year for my boyfriend’s birthday. :)

  60. Michelle

    Hi there!
    So I just had this wandering thought; would the almond meal/flour they’ve been selling lately (Bob’s red mill) work in a recipe like this? Sure it’s not pre-toasted, but it seems like maybe it might work for those of us who have no good way to grind our own nuts?

    1. deb

      barb — It will be hard to get total coverage of powdered sugar after defrosting them — since they won’t still be hot and steamy. I’d actually do it twice to be safe, from the oven and then a retouch once they’re defrosted.

  61. Beth

    Took the yearly poll to see what kind of cookies the family want for the holidays this year, and every single member requested the above. I made them with almonds and did a a touch of almond extract. That’s a pretty impressive recipe when a whole family of six can agree on it. Thanks for sharing your brilliance with us. Happy Holidays!!

  62. aviva

    im confused, the dough is not forming, how long should it take to mix the butter, flour, powder sugar and crushed nuts into a dough? its still powdery after about 15 min of mixing. thanks

  63. aviva

    thank you!! these cookies are kind of magical. i tried them first time halving the recipe and my boyfriend ate everything in a day, now i am making them again but trying this time w/ almond flour…
    thanks for your response and a beautiful cookie!!

  64. Gina

    These could be called Kourabiedes too!! That’s the greek name of these cookies, you usually make them with ground almonds and some of them have a delicious filling made with different spices, almonds and whisky!! SO good! My yia-yia used to make them for me :)

  65. Jessica Joseph

    Hi Deb! I’d like to make these for a friend’s upcoming wedding. The recipe calls for nuts that are ground finely. Is ti OK to use almond meal? I’ve seen other recipes where it calls for the nuts not to be ground, but just chopped into small pieces. just want to make sure I get it right. :)

  66. alexandriagrown

    I loved making cookies as a kid. Russian Tea Cakes using walnuts were one of my favorites but I lost the recipe I used years ago. I just tried this recipe (using walnuts) and they were delicious!

  67. Rick

    Just like the ones my grandmother lovingly made and shipped to her children and grandchildren scattered across the country. Thank you.

  68. JP

    I divided everything in half and made these tonight – in half because while my wife loves these cookies, I never have and so I didn’t think we needed so many of them. Well, I have learned that I actually DO like them! I always found Russian tea cakes and Mexican wedding cookies to be dry and to taste overwhelmingly of powdered sugar. But these – wow! They melt in your mouth. Terribly good! I told my mom this and she was a little offended (“You mean you didn’t like the ones I made last year?” Oops.) but I pointed out to her that Smitten Kitchen suggests one always toast the nuts and that this may make all the difference. ;) Thanks for another great one.

  69. Helena

    I love this recipe. I made these before exactly as written (with walnuts though), and they were a huge hit. However, I really dislike the texture of icing sugar on things, and I try to avoid using it, so this time I made them, I reduced the sugar in them to 1/3 cup and then rolled them in granulated sugar with a bit of cinnamon before baking them. They are admittedly very different without the puff of sugar with every bite, but I love them and will make them this way for myself from now on.

  70. Susan L

    I have some leftover limes from a key lime pie I made and recalled that you had a lime meltaway cookie on this site. Well, I read some of the reviews for that recipe and saw comments that people wished the cookies were ..meltier. I think adapting this recipe and adding the lime zest and a tablespoon or two of the juice might be the answer to a meltier cookie. I’ll let you know.

  71. Carrie Powers

    Tried a variation of these this year with my daughter that added orange zest. Although not traditional it was a game changer! I will never make them without it again.

  72. Debbie….clearly i did something very wrong because even after refrigeration by dough did not hold together. I doubled the recipe so I have three balls of dough that will not hold together once I open them. Any suggestions for savaging this dough? FYI..they were in the frig for about an hour, not 30 minutes. Would that make a difference? I look forward to advice from the queen of great cookie recipes.

  73. CR

    This recipe tasted ok! But I think next time I would cut the butter slightly and use a different kind of salt or less salt. I used fine sea salt and found these cookies to be really salty for my taste! That might have been my fault using the sea salt though. Also they were really difficult handle after coating in powdered sugar. One touch and the sugar would wipe off :/ and they remained sticky even with a ton of sugar on them. Not optimal when transferring to holiday tins for gifts. Argh.

  74. Pavel

    These were great! We put in both nuts and cinnamon, but neither is strictly speaking “correct” for traditional Russian tea cakes which would have used cardamom (the Book on Tasty and Healthy Food gives the ratio as 5 ground cardamom pods for 100g flour but this is definitely a “to taste” thing) and no nuts.

  75. Ayse

    Hi. I did enjoy the way you compared and summarized these recipes. I also like learning methodically. I had time and tried tree of them same day. All were delicious and loved the cookies so much. Thank you Deb. I have learnt a lot from you.