yipee, cookie baking has begun around here. (finally, sigh). we start with either oatmeal chocolate chip cookies or russian teacakes. tonight we decided on russian teacakes. i've been making these since i was a little girl. i always found them irresistible, and they look like snowballs, that helps. now, my kids do a lot of the work. they add in the ingredients, measuring carefully, and then roll the dough into balls, and then finally, into the powdered sugar. very pleasing the way you can just pop a whole cookie easily into your mouth. yum.
i created this recipe for someone who was allergic to nuts. traditionally they contain pecans or walnuts. turns out the nuts are not crucial. i amped up the 'nuttiness' flavor with whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour. it totally worked, you can really hardly tell there are no nuts in there. sometimes we do put in 2/3 cup finely chopped pecans or pistachios, which is nice too, adding some protein to the butter sugar index. which decreases the guilt index. all good. this is a forgiving recipe and can be altered and fiddled around with good results.
Russian Teacakes (not necessarily with any nuts)
makes plenty of cookies (about 75)
recipe can easily be halved
preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit
4 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 TBSP vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or cake flour
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
optional 2/3 cup finely chopped pecans or pistachios (add in with the flours)
1 additional cup confectioner's sugar (give or take) for rolling
using electric mixer with dough paddle, beat butter and sugar until super light and fluffy. this takes a while, about 10 minutes. add in the vanilla and the salt to the butter mixture. beat until just combined. mix flours together. remove bowl from mixer and mix the flours into the butter mixture by hand with a wooden spoon until just combined. it will look quite lumpy and crumbly but will hold together nicely when given a little squeeze.
roll into ball shapes about 1 and a half inches in diameter. place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees farenheit for 12 minutes or so until the bottoms are lightly browned.
allow to cool for 10 minutes. when cookies are cool enough to handle, roll in confectioner's sugar and coat on all sides. as the cookies continue to cool, roll a second time in the sugar. stored in an airtight cookie tin these will keep for about a week.