Russian tea cakes are soft, buttery shortbread cookies commonly eaten at Christmas or other special occasions such as weddings. They are an ideal way to finish off that dinner party served with coffee.
These cookies not only taste divine, but look amazing as well with their white powdery coating. It is hard to see what lies beneath, but once you have taken your first bite, a beautiful, soft butter-ball emerges.
These Russian tea cakes are surprisingly easy to make. The dough is simply rolled into balls then coated in powdered sugar after baking.
Using an electric mixer cream the butter on high speed until it becomes fluffy and pale yellow in color. Add ½ cup of confectioners sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and salt and beat on low speed until just mixed.
Sift the flour and cinnamon together then gradually stir in to the butter mixture with a wooden spoon. Add the ground almonds and mix.
Place the dough in the refrigerator until it is chilled and no longer sticky. But don't allow it to become hard.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Line two baking sheets with baking or parchment paper.
Sift the remaining ¾ cup of confectioners sugar with a fine sieve. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll the dough into 1 inch balls using the palms of your hands.
Place them on the baking sheets leaving a 1 inch space between each one.
Bake the cookies for about 10 - 12 minutes or until just golden on the bottom. Remove them from the oven and leave to cool on the trays for about 5 minutes.
Roll them in the confectioners sugar and place on wire racks to cool completely.
Makes about 48
The butter should be at room temperature and soft enough to beat. Remove it from the fridge at least 30 minutes before you begin.
As with all shortbread doughs handle as little as possible. Once the flour has been added stir until just incorporated with the butter.
They will be quite soft when you first remove them from the oven but will harden once they cool.
When rolling the cookies in sugar, place the confectioners sugar in a bowl and add one at a time, coating each one individually.
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