Russian Tea Cakes

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… or Snowballs, Mexican Wedding Cakes, or Kipferl… these cookies have an identity crisis I think!

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Jake wanted to make crescents and Eli wanted to make snowballs, so we decided to make both.  I use 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

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp cream cheese (optional)

4 tbsp powdered sugar

1/2 cup ground nuts

2 cups flour

Extra powdered sugar for rolling after baking

1.  Cream together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, salt 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.

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3.  Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment at 350 for 10-12 minutes, just until the stops start to crack and before they turn too golden.

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

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Tips for these cookies:

– Sometimes the balls fall apart when you roll them.  I add a little cream cheese to the dough and don’t bake them too long.  This seems to keep them from breaking.

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

– Rolling them twice in powdered sugar makes them pretty.

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