My Russian Tea Cake recipe makes a melt-in-your-mouth delicate treat you never knew you needed. Their rich buttery flavor filled with nuts for texture and the classic powdered sugar coating makes them not just a cookie, but a dessert experience.
Russian Tea Cakes
I grew up seeing these little powdered sugar-coated cookies on every dessert buffet around the holidays. Everyone loved them and raved over how delicious they were, but I had to avoid them because I am allergic to nuts.
While I have never been able to taste these yummy Russian tea cookies, my friends and family have confirmed that this recipe is fantastic. In fact, this recipe comes directly from my dear friend Jennie’s mom, Vicki. She was kind enough to share her recipe with me to share with my family and readers.
Do I Have to Toast the Almonds?
While I have not tried them, it is my understanding that a big part of the flavor in these cookies comes from being toasted. In fact, in any recipe where I have added nuts, toasting them has been a must. It brings out the nutty flavor and helps to add depth to any recipe.
Lebkuchen is another great cookie that uses almonds if you have extras after making these Russian tea cakes.
Tip: If you don’t want to add the extra oil to toast your almonds, simply watch them carefully using a nonstick pan or toasting on a silicone baking mat.
Can I Make the Dough In Advance?
Yes! In fact, for this recipe, it is recommended that you refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours before forming into balls. This makes it a perfect cookie dough to make in large batches to freeze for a future date.
If I plan to freeze the dough, I prefer to form the balls ahead of time. Then, I will place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and cover to pop into the freezer for 15-20 minutes to flash freeze. Next, I can drop them into a freezer bag that has been dated and labeled. This method keeps them round, and easy to thaw in the refrigerator overnight to simply grab and bake when ready.
Check out my cinnamon spritz cookies for another option you can make in large batches. These freeze beautifully after cooking.
Tips for Storing Russian Tea Cookies Recipe
Since these cookies are rolled in powdered sugar after they are done baking, they can be a bit messier than other cookies. So, when it is time to store them, you may not be sure what the best method is.
One way I like to store these Russian tea cake cookies is to sprinkle about ½ cup powdered sugar into the bottom of an airtight container and stack them in it before sealing. When I am ready to serve, I can lightly shake the container to distribute extra coating on the cookies before placing on a serving tray.
A Schokokipferl cookie is another traditionally powdered sugar-coated cookie you might enjoy. My recipe is for a chocolate-based option, but you can adapt and coat in powdered sugar just like these tea cakes.
Variations on Russian Tea Cakes
While this is the perfect recipe if you are craving a buttery delicious cookie, there are some fun variations of this to add variety to your cookie platter. Below are a few ideas that will make this recipe just a bit different, but still delicious.
- Use almond, maple, or even peppermint extract in place of the vanilla
- Place a small chocolate inside the ball as you roll it to add a gooey center
- Add lemon flavoring or lemon juice to the dough, and fill the dough balls with a ¼ tsp lemon curd
- Roll in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar instead of powdered sugar
- Replace part of the flour with unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/3 heaping cup toasted almonds, finely chopped
- 1-2 cups powdered sugar, for rolling
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract for about 2 minutes.
- While the butter/sugar is creaming, toast the chopped almonds in a frying pan over med-high eat until slightly golden. Remove from the pan to cool.
- Add the flour and salt to the butter/sugar and mix until just combined.
- Mix in the toasted almonds.
- Cover the dough and chill in the freezer for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll 1" balls in your hand then place them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until firm.
- Immediately roll in 1-2 cups powdered sugar and set on wax paper to cool completely.
- Once completely cool, roll again in powdered sugar.
- Store in an air tight container for up to a week.