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Russian Tea Cakes

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Russian Tea Cakes
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  • Prep 60 min
  • Total 1 hr 15 min
  • Servings 48
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There’s no feeling quite as blissful as your first bite of one of these cookies. Whether you call them Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cookies or snowballs, there’s no denying that they’re essential to bake during the Christmas season. A shortbread-like dough, studded with chopped nuts, bakes up to a texture that’s beautifully sandy and tender, never dry or crumbling to bits. The classic finish for them is a roll through powdered sugar—just like dashing through the winter snow! Make this recipe and you’ll be part of a legacy of bakers who have made Russian Tea Cakes one of the most anticipated treats of the season.
Updated Dec 4, 2019


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Powdered sugar
Make With
Make With
Gold Medal Flour


  • 1
    Heat oven to 400°F.
  • 2
    Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.
  • 3
    Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  • 4
    Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on wire rack.
  • 5
    Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. Roll in powdered sugar again.

Tips from the Betty Crocker Kitchens

  • tip 1
    This dough doesn’t spread during baking, so arrange them about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Like shortbread they don’t brown; they’re done when firm to the touch.
  • tip 2
    Similar cookies are called snowballs or a version that’s filled with rich pine nuts can also be called Mexican wedding cakes.
  • tip 3
    Tea cakes are rich, crumbly, and a style of bite-size shortbread. Short doughs refer to tender cookies and pastries that are influenced by the ratio of fat and flour.
  • tip 4
    Vary the texture and flavor by playing with different nuts. Cashew, hazelnut, pecans or walnuts are good choices, especially if toasted and finely ground before mixing into the dough.


75 Calories, 5 g Total Fat, 1 g Protein, 6 g Total Carbohydrate

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
5 g
Saturated Fat
1 g
55 mg
15 mg
Total Carbohydrate
6 g
Dietary Fiber
1 g
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
1/2 Starch; 1 Fat;
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

More About This Recipe

  • There’s no denying the tactile joy of maneuvering your lips around a dusting of powdered sugar to reach the melt-in-your-mouth center of these tea cookies. The powdery, sweet residue is just one of the signatures of this snowball-shaped treat. Because they’re made with real butter and chopped nuts, these cookies have a melting texture and a distinctively rich taste. In addition to being known as Russian tea cookies, they’re also called Mexican, Italian or Swedish wedding cookies, Austrian kipferin, butterballs and snowballs. No matter what they’re named, these tea cookies are all prepared in basically the same way, being rolled in powdered sugar while still warm, then coated again once they’ve cooled off a bit. Heat up a samovar (or just a regular teapot), brew some of your favorite tea, and have an old-fashioned tea party with these classic treats. If you’d like to try some variations on the snowball theme, check out Betty’s best snowball cookies collection.
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