Russian Tea Cakes

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… or snowballs, or Mexican Wedding Cakes.  Crescent cookies, anyone?  These cookies have an identity crisis I think, in both name and shape!  So I’m going with the name that we used growing up, that came from my Mom and my Grandma Waite, and the cookbook from the Kiantone Church in her hometown near Jamestown, NY.

Jake wanted to make crescents and Eli wanted to make snowballs, so we made both.  I also used almonds instead of the classic pecans because most of the world does not have pecans.  Almonds on the other hand, seem to be everywhere :).

SNOWBALLS / RUSSIAN TEA CAKES

1 cup of salted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 Tbsp cream cheese (optional)

4 tbsp powdered sugar

1/2 cup ground almonds

2 cups flour

Extra powdered sugar for rolling after baking

1.  Cream together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Stir in the almonds, then add the flour and stir just until the dough comes together.

2.  Shape the dough into 1-inch balls or crescents, whatever shape you like.  Jake was my helper here!

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3.  Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

4.  Roll in powdered sugar when warm, then roll again when cool.

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Tips for these cookies:

– Sometimes they fall apart during the rolling part.  I added the touch of cream cheese and didn’t bake them too long, taking them out when the tops started to show a little cracking.  They were not golden yet.  I don’t know if either of these things were the reason, but the cookies didn’t break this time.

– You can use any kind of nuts in these, pecans, walnuts, or almonds.  I grind them up to keep the texture uniform, and also to minimize their effect on breaking the dough as it bakes.

– Rolling them twice in powdered sugar makes them look pretty!

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