You may think of Russian tea cakes as a "holiday cookie." This twist on the traditional recipe makes it a perfect "winter cookie." The kind you serve with hot tea while wearing cozy slippers, and perhaps a fireplace in view.
You get the picture.
Since we're coming off the Christmas season, these cookies have been on my mind since I'll honestly admit, I made them for the first time about a month ago.
Now the standard recipe calls for walnuts, at the time I only had chocolate dusted almonds on hand.
What's a girl to do?
The chocolate almond substitute was good, but I felt they were a bit dry.
While at a wine party, the host, whose daughter has a peanut allergy, made the tea cakes with no nuts at all. They were fine, but sort of like a chunk of pie crust covered in confectioner sugar.
This got us talking about other ways people have made Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cakes, snowball cookies, or whatever you call them.
Russian Tea Cookies
Although Russian tea cake is a common name for these cookies, the Russian origin is unknown. A version of this cookie is actually declared the "official cookie on New Mexico." The only difference is the butter cookie recipe includes a small amount of anise.
This lead me to the numerous variations that there are on this popular cookie.
- Dough wrapped around maraschino cherries
- Dough wrapped around Hershey Kisses
- Substitute vanilla extract for lemon extract
- Substitute walnuts for rice crispies
- Substitute walnuts for crushed candies (more on that!)
Chai Tea Cookies
I don't know about you, but Oprah and I love chai tea. Not that we're friends or anything, but we happen to both have great taste.
That said, I was recently introduced to Barrels of Yum Chai Tea candies. Now I love to savor a sweet piece of candy as much as the next person, trust me. But I couldn't wait to inject a great cookie with a crowdpleaser flavor!
Russian Chai Tea Cookie Recipe
To make this cookie more moist I adjusted the butter to flour ratio so that they come out as more of a cookie (wider, flatter) than a ball.
(Makes about 20 cookies)
Mix above ingredients in a large bowl
- 1 stick of butter (soft)
- 1/2 ts vanilla
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup + 1 Tb all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup Barrels of Yum Chai Tea candies - crushed*
- Pinch of salt
Mix into bowl with previous ingredients.
*For best results crushing the candies use a blender or food processor
Roll the dough into small balls, about 1" diameter and place on parchment paper or silicone baking sheet.
I didn't have either of those so I used silicone muffin cups and they worked great!
Bake at 400
° for 10 minutes in a convection oven, or up to 12 minutes in a regular oven.
When they're done, let them cool for 5 minutes.
In a paper bag put:
- 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar
- a shake of ground cinnamon
Place a cookie or two in the bag and gently shake to coat. Repeat with all cookies.
Serve immediately...because likely your family is hovering around you in desperate anticipation.
We found these cookies utterly addicting. They have great flavor and an amazing texture.
In upcoming Pampered Teacher boxes, subscribers will get to try the chai tea candies and a new flavor from Barrels of Yum
- crushed pineapple.
The crushed pineapple has a great burst of citrus flavor, which can be helpful for stimulating the brain when you need a second wind on a long day in the classroom.
If you go to the Barrels of Yum home page you can see all their awesome flavors like Macaroon Cookie and Root Beer Float.
Look for them at your local candy store. And if they don't carry them, just ask if they'd be willing to.