Russian tea cakes are simple buttery cookies packed with chopped nuts for a great crunch and depth of flavor. The cookies are not super-sweet so the powdered sugar on the outside actually provides the perfect balance.
What You’ll Need for This Recipe
Unsalted Butter: If you’re using salted butter omit the added salt in the recipe.
Nuts: Walnuts are a traditional choice but you can use pecans or almonds instead. Make sure to toast before using for best results.
How to Make Russian Tea Cakes
1. Spread the nuts onto a baking sheet and bake at 350F for about 10 minutes or until fragrant. Move the nuts around after five minutes so they toast evenly. Beat the butter until creamed.
2. Cream the butter then add the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy then beat in the vanilla extract.
3. Add the flour and walnuts to the stand mixer.
4. Mix until just combined. Scrape the bowl down and mix in any remaining flour in by hand.
5. Roll the dough into balls about 1.5-2 inches wide. Place on a baking sheet a few inches apart and then bake until just golden at the bottom.
6. As soon as the cookies are cool enough to touch, roll them in powdered sugar. You can dust with additional powdered sugar when cooled.
Pro Tips for this Recipe
- Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don’t have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.
- You can sub in chopped pecans, macadamia nuts, or hazelnuts if desired. They all work great.
- Make sure to roll in powdered sugar as soon as the cookies come out of the oven because they need to be hot in order for the sugar to stick.
- If your oven has a hot spot, then rotate cookie sheet half way through baking to get a more even color on the cookies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are they really Russian?
No one really knows. These cookies are popular around the world with various names. One theory is that an old image of Russian tea with these cookies is what gave them their association in the US.
How Long Can You Store Them?
These cookies will keep for a week in an airtight container or for about two months if frozen.
What makes Russian Tea Cakes Different?
Most cookies have a lot of sugar but these cookies have more butter making them really delicate and scrumptious. It’s a global classic for a reason; a simple easy to remember recipe with just a few ingredients and they’re fun to make!
What is a tea cake made of?
If you’ve tried this Russian Tea Cake recipe then don’t forget to leave a rating and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you!
Russian Tea Cakes
- 1 cup butter room temperature, 226g
- 3/4 cup confectioners sugar Plus 1/2 cup for rolling
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups flour 300g
- ¾ cup walnuts toasted and finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat to 350F degrees. Toast walnuts for about 10 minutes on a baking sheet moving around after five minutes to all the nuts toast evenly. Set oven to 375F after toasting. Allow nuts to cool then chop finely.
- Cream the butter in a stand mixer. Add salt and vanilla, then add powdered sugar mixing until light and fluffy.
- Add in chopped walnuts, then add the flour gradually until incorporated into a dough. Scrape the bowl down and mix in any bits of flour or butter with your spatula.
- Roll dough into 1.5 inch balls using the palms of your clean hands. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 375F for about 10-12 minutes or until cookies are a very light golden brown on the bottom. While cookies are baking place about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in a bowl and set aside.
- Allow to cool for a minute or until JUST cool enough to handle. Roll in the powdered sugar and set aside.
- Sift a bit more confectioners' sugar over the cookies then serve.
- You can sub in chopped pecans if desired.
- Make sure to roll in powdered sugar as soon as the cookies come out of the oven, they need to be hot for the sugar to stick.
- Rotate cookie sheet half way through baking to get a more even color on the cookies.