This week I am co-hosting our 12th annual cookie swap at my office, a favorite holiday tradition. It’s a simple event – everyone brings 4 dozen of the same cookie and leaves with a variety of cookies. For the second year in a row, we are counting our cookies and reporting our total to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. For every cookie swapped, Glad® will donate a $1 up to $100,000 towards fighting Cancer in children.

I have many favorite cookies from many years of swapping, but one that comes to mind is from Bruce C who left our company a few years ago. He made these Russian Tea Cakes every year and I always looked forward to them. Now I make them myself during the holidays. There’s just a few ingredients and they are so tasty and very easy to make – think of your favorite shortbread dipped in powdered sugar. They are the perfect holiday cookie and they look festive, too.

I opted to name these for our Siberian Forest cat, Talia. I hope Bruce C doesn’t mind.

Talia's Russian Tea Cakes













Talia's Russian Tea Cakes
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: Makes 2-1/2 dozen.
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • About ⅓ cup additional powdered sugar for coating
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy and fully mixed.
  3. Slowly add flour to creamed mixture, blend thoroughly
  4. Add nuts and mix well
  5. Chill dough for 1 hour.
  6. Shape into 1-inch balls and bake 8-10 minutes. Place about an inch apart on the cookie sheet – the don't "melt" much so it's okay if they are close. Do not brown – dough will look uncooked when ready.
  7. Cool and then roll in powdered sugar.
* Recipe can easily be doubled and fits well into a 4.5 quart KitchenAid stand mixer.
* Trader Joe's sells chopped pecan pieces (Unsalted Dry Roasted Pecan Pieces) that are the perfect size for these cookies and other cookies – no need for any additional chopping.
* Cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Layer between parchment paper or waxed paper in a freezer-safe container.
* If I'm putting these in a bag with other cookies as a gift, I like to put them first in a small bag and then add that small bag to the larger bag which I fill with the remaining cookies. That way the powdered sugar doesn't get all over the other cookies.



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2013-12-08T18:05:03+00:00 December 17th, 2012|Categories: Desserts|Tags: , , , , , , |4 Comments


  1. Perry Teillon December 17, 2012 at 8:33 am - Reply

    Nicole, your grandmother also made Russian tea cakes as part of her holiday baking. They were one of my favorites along with springerles (I dare you to include that recipe).

  2. Lance December 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    Nicole, i saw what your Dad wrote just as i was about to write the same thing. I can’t think of Russian Tea Cookies without thinking of Mom. He was also right about the Springerles which, supposedly, were given to hungry children before dinner. It would take the kids forever to nibble the cookies into oblivion since they were so hard.

  3. Julie December 20, 2012 at 11:49 am - Reply

    Nicole – Reading your post makes me REALLY miss our cookie exchanges in “The Hunt”. You always brought the best cookies and it’s an annual event that I really miss hosting since I moved away. I might need to start a West Philly version, including participating in Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

    • Nicole December 21, 2012 at 8:47 am - Reply

      Julie – Thank you for your kind words! I loved that annual event as well – and would be happy to come to West Philly to participate next year if you’d like to bring it back!

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