1⁄2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1⁄2 - 2 c ground walnutsdivided
2 c unbleached AP flourOR 2 c minus 1 T Whole Wheat PASTRY flour OR 1 c AP flour AND 1 c Whole Wheat PASTRY flour
3⁄4 c sifted icing sugardivided
1 t vanilla
1 t rumor Brandy OR 1 Rum flavoring diluted with water to make 1 T
1⁄2 t Saltoptional
Russian tea cakes, also known as Mexican wedding cookies, have a delicate, fine, melt-in-your-mouth texture not unlike shortbread, and a rich, deeply nutty flavor.
How to Make Russian Tea Cakes:
- Grind half the walnuts to medium. Add to the flour.
- Grind the remaining walnuts to a finer grind. Remove all but 1⁄4 cup and add to the flour.
- Continue grinding the 1⁄4 cup of nuts until almost a powder. Reserve this for later.
- Cream the butter with 1⁄2 cup of icing sugar, vanilla and rum.
- Mix the flour (and optional salt) with the ground nuts until evenly distributed and add to the butter mixture.
- Continue mixing until it comes together and is not crumbly.
- Using a tablespoon, form into about 3⁄4 – 1 inch balls.
- Put the balls about 1 inch apart on a parchment paper covered sheet pan.
- Bake in the oven preheated to 325°F for 17 to 20 minutes. The balls should be very lightly browned. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before first rolling.
- Mix together 1⁄4 cup of icing sugar with the very finely ground nuts and sprinkle the mixture on a flat plate or pan. Roll the still slightly warm balls until completely coated and set aside to cool completely. Reroll a second time after they have cooled.
- Add a little more icing sugar if needed. Store in a airtight tin. Any remaining sugar and nut powder can be added to the tin.