Russian: Tea Cakes

Edited and written by Catherine Cunningham. Published October 26th 2021.  Original recipes Cookies and Cups .

Doused in powdered sugar and usually with walnuts (even though I used chocolate chips) these traditional Christmas Dough Cakes are  loved all over the world, with a large concentration in Russia. The basic difference between the European-based tea cakes versus recipes like Mexican wedding cookies, is that the European-based use 

chopped hazelnuts, almonds, or walnuts and Mexican wedding cookies use chopped pecans. 

Eastern European shortbread cookies were a large influence in Russia’s creation of their tea cakes. I loved the fact that they were bite sized because they had a little bit of dryness from the texture and the extra mouth full of powdered sugar made it memorable and perfect with a cup of tea! Because of the lack of baking powder and baking soda the little balls don’t grow and stay the perfect size to grow. 


1 cup butter, room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar, divided

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cups of mini chocolate chips 


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to mix together the butter, one  cup of the powdered sugar, the salt, and vanilla until it’s smooth.
  3. Turn the mixer down to low and add in the flour mixing until the mixture holds together. 
  4. Next stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Using a small cookie scoop, make and roll them into 1- inch balls.
  6. Place the balls onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until completely set and lightly browned on the bottom (the balls shouldn’t grow in size)
  7. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, until they are cool enough to handle, but still warm.
  8. Use the remaining cup of powdered sugar into a bowl. Then roll each warm cookie in the powdered sugar to coat. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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