Thursday, December 27, 2012

Russian Tea Cakes

My sons told me that it wouldn't be Christmas without the cookies that I always make and they have requested that I post this recipes on my blog as this is one of their absolute favorite cookies and they actually want to know how to make them. The other cookies that I usually make are already on this blog and were posted in years past and there is another one I will post tomorrow. And next year, I plan on trying some new recipes too.

These Russian Tea Cakes are made with finely chopped walnuts. If you used Hazelnuts and made them into crescent shapes, they would then claim to be from Austria, Switzerland or Germany and be called Vanillakipferle. Then, if you use pecans, they would suddenly become Mexican Wedding Cakes.  Funny how one recipe with one exchange can be called so many different names. There are also so many recipes and frankly, they are all really similar.  In any case, they are all really good with whatever kind of nuts you choose to use!

Russian Tea Cakes

1 cup of butter (2 sticks)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 cup additional powdered sugar (for rolling)

Cream together butter and powdered sugar.  Add vanilla extract and mix well.  In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt and walnuts.  Combine with the butter mixture and stir with your fingers until combined and they dough holds together.  Push into a ball and cover and refrigerate until cold - about 1/2 hour.  Then make walnut sized balls and place on Silpat or Parchment lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until bottom edge is lightly browned. Take out of oven and cool slightly.  Roll in powdered sugar and put on a plate.  Before storing and serving, roll in powdered sugar again.

Five Element Analysis

I think these are actually some of the healthier cookies to make as the finely chopped nuts are really nutritious and they belong to the Water Element so that element is covered and the butter and vanilla extract adds even more. The wheat flour brings in the Wood Element and the powdered sugar adds the Earth Element. The only element that is missing is the Fire Element so for a good Five Element Cookie break, serve these with a Fire beverage like coffee or tea, which are the perfect accompaniment for these not too sweet cookies.   


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