Wednesday, August 25, 2010

russian tea cakes - kak dela cookies?

russian tea cakes - 19Americans are quite ignorant. We think French Fries come from France, Cheddar cheese is a part of the "Mexican Blend" cheese package, and that Russian Tea Cakes have an origin of Russia. Me, being an American of course, fall somewhat into this category (hey, I know fries come from Belgium!). To commemorate my (new) Russian boyfriend, I decided I'd make some Russian Tea Cakes. I called him, across country, as I was still visiting my grandma on vacation, to tell him of the news.

russian tea cakes - 03russian tea cakes - 10"Uh...I've never heard of Russian Tea Cakes," he says. I tell him it's a Melting Moments Cookie plus some type of chopped nut. "Nope... it's not Russian. Neither is Russian Dressing." Point proven.

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Regardless, I was on a mission. I've conquered the disintegrating Melting Moments, now it's my time to conquer these Russian Tea Cakes.

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After a little divulgence, I learned that Russian Tea Cakes were, in fact, of Russian origin.

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They also became known as "Mexican Wedding Cakes," although that translation is a little blurry...

russian tea cakes - 12russian tea cakes - 54
Whatever may have been lost in translation, what is indeed known is that this cookie became popular around 18th century in Russia and was used in a tea-sharing ceremony.

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So basically, suck on that! You may know the history of your culture regarding politics and wars and language, but I still dominate in worldly culinary facts, my dear!

Taken from Smitten Kitchen.

1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup pecans, hazelnuts or other nuts, toasted and finely ground (if using hazelnuts, wrap in a dishtowel while still warm and roll about until most of the brown skins come off)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

1. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until well blended. Beat in flour, then nuts. Divide dough in half; form each half into ball. Wrap separately in plastic; chill until cold, about 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and cinnamon, if using, in pie dish to blend. Set cinnamon sugar aside.
3. Working with half of chilled dough, roll dough by 2 teaspoonfuls between palms into balls. Arrange balls on heavy large baking sheet, spacing 1/2 inch apart. Bake cookies until golden brown on bottom and just pale golden on top, about 18 minutes. Cool cookies 5 minutes on baking sheet. Gently toss warm cookies in cinnamon sugar to coat completely. Transfer coated cookies to rack and cool completely. Repeat procedure with remaining half of dough. (Cookies can be prepared 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature; reserve remaining cinnamon sugar.)
4. Sift remaining cinnamon sugar over cookies and serve.

Makes about 4 dozen.

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