These cookies, also known as Russian Teacakes, Christmas Snowballs, Scandinavian nut cookies, tend to have a similar variation among cultures baking for winter holidays and special family gatherings. Primarily European in origin, baked versions may also be found in Mexican and South American recipes. This is a very easy recipe to produce and allows little hands a great opportunity to be involved in creating very tasty little treats.
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar (aka: confectioner’s sugar)
1/4 t salt — finely ground
2 t pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup powdered sugar (aka: confectioner’s sugar — for final decoration)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bring the butter to room temperature, then in the mixer cream together the butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla extract. Blend until the lumps of butter have been smoothed completely but don’t over-whip.
Add the flour and the salt. Blend together then gently fold in the nuts.
Roll out little balls of dough, approximately 1 T. in size and place them on an ungreased baking sheet.
Place sheet in the heated oven and bake for 15 minutes until they are pale gold in color. Try not to over-bake as they will become rather dry and brown.
Once baked, remove from the oven and roll the warm cookies in the powdered sugar. Set aside and allow to cool. Then sift the remaining powdered sugar over the cookies, dusting them evenly.
Store in an air-tight container lined with parchment paper. May freeze as well. Keeps for a couple of weeks.
For flavorful variations, you may add a coating of finely crushed candy canes, cinnamon powder or cocoa powder at the very end as a finishing touch.
The dough may also be rolled and formed into small crescents (or quarter-moon shapes) for a different presentation as well.