Monday, December 26, 2016

Russian Tea Cakes - Gluten Free

Russian Tea Cakes are one of my family's favorite Christmas Cookies. It's basically a  shortbread that's made with ground Walnuts and coated with Powdered Sugar. It's crumbly and rich at the same time. They are known as Mexican Wedding Cakes if you use ground Pecans iand these cookies are also called Snowballs in some parts of the country. I've been searching for a good Gluten Free recipe and I've tried several but finally found a good one from Bob's Red Mill. They used Hazelnut Meal for what they call their Holiday Tea Cookies, which I'm sure makes a great cookie, but I substituted Walnuts. And, I lowered the salt content slightly as their recipe made a very salty cookie. The best news is that absolutely no one realized that the cookie was Gluten Free! That's when I know that I've achieved my goal - to make really delicious cookies that just happen to be Gluten Free!

Russian Tea Cakes - Gluten Free adapted from Bob's Red Mill

1 cup Butter, softened (2 sticks)
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar + 1 1/2 cups for Coating
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 cups Gluten Free Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour) 
3/4 cup Walnuts (rounded)
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Grind the Walnuts in the Food Processor and put aside in a small bowl. Then put in the Butter, Vanilla and Powdered Sugar and mix until very creamy. Add in the Vanilla Extract and incorporate fully.  Then add in the Flour and Salt and mix again. Remove to a bowl and stir in the Ground Walnuts. Make walnut sized balls and place on plates. Cover with Plastic Wrap and refrigerate the cookies for 2 hours up to overnight. 

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the remaining Powdered Sugar in a bowl, and roll each cookie in the sugar.  Then put onto a parchment of Silpat covered baking pan.  Cook for 12 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned at the edges.  Cool slightly, then take each cookie and carefully roll in powdered sugar before placing on a rack to cool completely. Roll the cookies in Powdered Sugar again before serving. 

Five Element Analysis

Walnuts belong to the Water Element and they are considered very good for your Kidneys and your Brains, since they look like them. The Rice Flour and Butter contribute the Metal Element along with the Vanilla. The Sugar and the Tapioca and Potato Flours in the mix add the Earth Element. So, only the Fire Element and Wood Element are missing, so have these cookies with some Tea or Coffee that adds Fire and make sure that the Wood Element is present in another food later. Like I said in my last post, I made sure that I made some Passion Fruit Bars for my cookie plate that contributed the sour flavor of Wood to create a balanced plate of cookies!

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