Russian Tea Cakes

Russian Tea Cakes

Russian Tea Cakes are popular cookies that are eaten around Christmastime. These cookies are made with walnuts or hazelnuts. For a sweet ending, these cookies are rolled in confectioner’s sugar. These wintery cookies look just like a snowball and are often called snowball cookies.

We like the walnut version of these Russian Tea Cakes, as they help balance the sweet flavour of the cookie. Roasting the walnuts before using them really intensifies the flavour.

Be sure to experiment to see which nuts you like the best in your cookies. For Mexican Wedding Cookies, follow the same recipe, but replace the walnuts with chopped pecans.

One thing to mention about these cookies, regardless of which nuts you decide to add, the recipe is egg free. Perfect for those with egg allergies.

If you would rather buy Christmas cookies than bake your own, we have plenty to offer. Take a look our selection at our Italian Pastry Shop.

Russian Tea Cakes

Russian Tea Cakes

Russian Tea Cakes

Servings 40 cookies


  • 1 cup 1 cup unsalted butter softenedand cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar plus extra for rolling the cookies in
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup walnuts roasted and finely ground into flour


  • Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • In a large bowl, beattogether the butter and sugar over medium-high speed until well combined.
  • Add the vanilla extract and the almond extract. Beat for 30 seconds.
  • Add the flour and beat on low speed until just combined.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Roll cookies into 1-inch (2.5 centimetre) balls.
  • Place on the baking tray and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place the extra confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl.
  • Remove from the oven and immediately roll the Russian Tea Cakes into icing sugar.
  • Let the cookies cool completely.
  • Roll the cookies in the confectioner’s sugar one more timebefore storing them.
  • Enjoy! We love these cookies with coffee or hot chocolate.

History, Tips & Tricks

Why are these cookies called Russian Tea Cakes?

Historians are not exactly sure how Russian Tea Cakes were named. They are derived from Eastern European shortbread. Some claim these sweet treats were served at special Russian gatherings where tea was served with a samovar or specialized Russian teapot.

Mexican Wedding Cookies are a variation of Russian Tea Cakes. Historians think Russians brought these cookies to Mexico. Then, by exchanging walnuts for pecans, these cookie became Mexican Wedding Cookies.

How do you roast walnuts?

To roast walnuts, there are two methods. You can roast the walnuts in the oven, or you can toast them in a frying pan.

To roast the walnuts in the oven, preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place the walnuts in the oven and roast for 8-10 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally.

To use the stovetop method, heat the frying pan to medium-high heat. There is no need to add oil. Now, add the walnuts in a single layer. Cook for 5 minutes while stirring with a spoon or spatula. Remove the walnut to a plate.

Regardless of whether you choose the oven or stovetop method, allow walnuts to cool completely, before chopping and adding to the cookie dough.


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