As many of you know, as well as contributing to cookrookery, I’m also a cartoonist. I choose to blog about Russian tea cookies because of the crossover between the two.
The recipe for Russian tea cookies is simple, only 5 ingredients. So simple and common, in fact, it has many names: butterballs, snowball cookies, snowdrops, pecan puffs, nutballs, cocoons, bullets, kourabiedes, sand tarts, moldy mice, Armenian sugar cookies, Italian butter nuts, and for the marriagely inclined: Mexican wedding cookies, Spanish wedding cookies, Viennese wedding cookies, and Greek wedding cookies.
Which is exactly why I chose them. I wanted something simple for my story.
A Russian character in my comic, Dimitri, finds himself on a foreign planet and wants to share his baking skills. He chooses the tea cookie because it is his secret family recipe, handed down by his grandmother (so secret in fact, ahem, that you can find a dozen recipes online which vary almost none whatsoever).
But I love the idea that on another planet they would not have butter churned from cow’s milk, no sugar cane, no vanilla bean, no wheat, no walnuts (well, assuming you believe in evolution). Such simple flavors we take for granted, to an intergalactic tongue untouched by Earth’s wares these simple ingredients would seem so unique and glorious.
And so, back on earth, I made them too, to enjoy the powdery delicious flavor. You can make them too, it’s really simple. I mean, REALLY simple. You could easily train your pet monkey to make you these all the time, but he’d probably eat them all.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1- 1/4 cups sifted flour
- 1/4 cup nuts, finely chopped
- Soften butter, I did it in a bowl in the toaster oven. A warm afternoon on the counter would do it too.
- Mix together butter, sugar, and vanilla. Mix in flour and nuts.
- Form into small 1″ balls, and place on un-greased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 375 F 12 minutes.
- While still warm roll in powdered sugar (this first roll might seem a bit damp and gooey, which helps the second roll to stick on)
- After cool, roll again in powdered sugar.
These are 3-4 bite cookies. Makes about 12 cookies. Makes more if you make them smaller or double the recipe.