12 Holiday Food Comas: Russian Tea Cookies

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Also known as: Mexican wedding cookies, cocoons, snowballs, and probably twenty-seven different other names the world over, but to me they are just “Further proof that lots of butter means a tasty, delicious snack.” No one really seems to know where they actually come from, but the fact remains: they are one of the most popular holiday cookies across Amuuurica and most definitely my favorite (hint: you may make them for me. In double batches. Thanks much.)

If you’re looking for a simple, easy cookie that will have you covered head-to-toe in powdered sugar goodness and a grin from ear-to-ear, you’ve come to the right place. Not so much if you have a nut allergy– then you’ll be lying in anaphylactic shock on floor gasping for Benadryl.

My mom and I do a big holiday baking extravaganza every year and I usually end up sneaking about 12 of these when she’s not looking. I think I’m super clever, but powdered sugar face always gives me away in the end.

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Russian Tea Cookies


3 sticks butter, softened
3 T powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 t salt
3 c flour, sifted thoroughly
2 c finely chopped pecans, walnuts, or your nut of choice.
For finishing: 2-4 c powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a standing or electric mixer, cream the butter and the 3 T sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. With the mixer on low, add the flour, salt, and nuts and mix until combined and no flour remains. You may have to turn the mixture over with a spatula, to get any wayward flour up from the bottom of the bowl. With your hands, form 1″-balls and place on the baking sheets, about 2″ apart. (As you can see from the above, I did some in the “cocoon” shape before switching to balls, which were much easier and didn’t fall apart). Press down slightly with the palm of your hand and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until slightly brown around the edges. Be careful not to over cook them– they burn quickly! Prepare another baking sheet by placing the finishing powdered sugar on it in a single layer. When the cookies are done, let them cool for a minute or two and then place them on the powdered sugar baking sheet. Turn each cookie to coat in the sugar and then let sit for about 15 minutes. Turn once more to coat again, adding sugar if necessary. Eat with gusto.

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