Sometimes know as Mexican Wedding Cookies or Snowball Cookies, this Russian Teacakes Recipe is the original from Betty Crocker!
(This post contains affiliate links).
I remember one cookie cookbook growing up. It was this Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book.
They’ve redone their classic cookbook, and now I have Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Cookie Book.
This recipe for Russian Tea Cakes comes directly from these books. You can also find it online at the Betty Crocker site here.
I’m going to give you step-by-step instructions with pictures so you can feel confident that you are making them right!
What’s the difference between Russian Tea Cakes and Mexican Wedding Cookies?
Absolutely nothing. They are the same cookie with different names. This type of cookie is also called a “snowball” or “butterball.” It seems that many different regions have their own name for this delectable little morsel.
Are Russian Tea Cakes Supposed to be Dry?
Yes. Yes they are. These cookies have no eggs or baking powder or baking soda. They don’t get fluffy or soft. They don’t expand in the oven.
Instead, their texture is crunchy and crumbly. Have some hot chocolate nearby, because you will need a drink with these! (My Dark Chocolate Chai Latte is DIVINE).
Ingredients for Russian Tea Cakes
These are the perfect cookies to make when you are out of practically everything 🙂 They only have a few simple ingredients that you almost always have on hand:
- Powdered sugar
- Nuts (pecans, walnuts, or macadamia nuts)
How to Make Russian Tea Cakes
I suggest using a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for these cookies. If you don’t have one of those, then mix them by hand with a wooden spoon. Don’t use a hand mixer. The dough is too stiff and dry.
You’ll want to start with 1 cup (2 cubes) of softened butter. Put the butter along with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla in your stand mixer or medium-sized mixing bowl.
Blend well on low speed. Then add 2 1/4 cups flour, 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix on low speed just until everything is blended and the flour disappears.
(Be sure to measure your flour properly. I “fluff” up my flour with my measuring cup and then scoop it. Technically, you should spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level it. Just don’t ever scoop directly from your flour container, or the flour will be too dense).
Here’s what the dough looks like when everything is mixed.
You can see that it’s really dry and crumbly and almost looks like pie crust. You might be worried that you have done something wrong, but don’t fear! Everything is about to get better.
Take your hands and press the dough together into a ball, just like you would for a pie crust.
It should hold together pretty well. Now you want to take a small cookie scoop and start scooping balls of dough.
Just place them on a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet. Don’t worry about their appearance for now.
You can put the cookies fairly close together since they won’t spread much in the oven.
Once you’ve scooped enough dough to fill your cookie sheet, pick up each ball and gently roll it between the palms of your hands. This will smooth them out and make perfect little balls.
Now you’re just going to bake these at 400 degrees F for 8-9 minutes, just until the bottoms begin to brown.
As soon as you remove them from the oven and while they are still hot, roll them in some powdered sugar.
I just put powdered sugar into a Tupperware container and put in several balls at once.
Then I shake the container gently to try to get the powdered sugar on all the surface of the balls.
It’s o.k. if the sugar looks a bit clumpy on the cookies. That is normal.
Take the cookies out and let them cool completely. Then give them a second roll in powdered sugar and you are done! The perfect Russian Tea Cake/Mexican Wedding Cookie/Snowball/Butterball!
These are wonderful gifts for Christmas or for cookie exchanges. The great thing about these cookies is that they fit right in at every type of celebration!
Have a napkin nearby! Or just lick your fingers. I won’t judge 🙂
- 1 cup butter, softened (2 cubes)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans, walnuts, or macadamia nuts
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Extra powdered sugar for rolling
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Add your 1 cup of butter, your 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to a stand mixer or medium-sized mixing bowl.
- If using the mixer, blend on low speed until everything is combined, about one minute. If mixing by hand, use a wooden spoon to carefully mix everything together.
- Add 2 1/4 cups flour, 3/4 cup chopped nuts, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the mixture. Blend on low speed with the mixer, or mix carefully by hand.
- When all the flour has disappeared, stop mixing. The dough will be very crumbly.
- Use your hands to press the dough together in a ball.
- Use a small cookie scoop to make balls of dough and place them on a parchment-lined or silicone mat-lined cookie sheet.
- Once all the dough has been scooped, pick up each ball and gently roll it between the palms of your hands to smooth them out.
- Place each ball of dough two inches apart on your cookie sheet. (These will not spread, so you can put them closer together if you want).
- Bake for 8-9 minutes, just until you start to see a bit of brown at the bottom edges.
- As soon as you take them out of the oven, place the hot cookies into a container of powdered sugar and quickly roll to cover. (You can use a plastic Tupperware container, or a plastic bag).
- Set the cookies aside to cool. Once fully cooled, roll in powdered sugar again.
- Store in an airtight container on the counter.