Desserts, Recipes

Russian Tea Cakes (Snowballs)

The holiday season is upon us, and no holiday is complete without some yummylicous cookies! Or in this case, Russian Tea Cakes! This crumbly, buttery, melt in your mouth shortbread cookie doused in powdered sugar is most satisfying in the winter season and around the holidays. They look like snowy little snowballs (hence the name!) and provide a more sophisticated, and less time consuming, cookie option for Santa. They would also make a great holiday party gift! Just put some in a cute holiday themed cookie tin, or fill a mason jar and wrap a bow on top – TA DA!

Cookies make everything better.

As usual, I’ve experimented a bit with this recipe to try and find the quickest way to make these yummy cookies. The trick I found to work is to start with butter that is a bit cooler than room temperature. If you usually refrigerate your butter, let it sit out for 1-2 hours. The butter should still be cool to the touch but soft enough to easily mix in a mixer.

Start out with one stick of cooler-than-room-temperature unsalted butter in a stand mixer. Add confectioners sugar and vanilla and mix. Slowly add in the flour, salt, and chopped pecans (or any other nut of your choice). Your mixture should look crumbly like this:

The point of using the cooler butter is so the dough is workable right after mixing rather than it being too soft or sticky to work with. With this recipe, you can immediately make your balls of dough without having to chill the mixture first. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and scoop out about a tablespoon of the dough mixture to shape into a small ball. The dough is pretty crumbly at this point, so you’ll have to squeeze the dough together and gently shape each piece into a ball with the palm of your hand, making sure to seal any cracks in the dough. Place on lined cookie sheet with some space in-between each ball.

Bake the cookies in your preheated oven for about 11-12 minutes. Let cookies cool for a few minutes until you can pick them up without burning your hand. While they’re still warm/hot, coat each cookie in a bowl of confectioner’s sugar so the sweet sugaryness melts into the cookie itself (mmmmm…mouth watering). Place on a wire cooling rack until completely cooled, and coat the cookies one more time with the confectioners sugar, and that’s it!

You could also try this recipe with chopped toffee bits instead of nuts for an extra sugary crunch. These are my favorite cookies to make for Christmas cookie exchange parties – always a hit! Try it and let me know what you think in the comments section. Until next time 😉



Russian Tea Cakes Recipe


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, a little cooler than room temperature
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar for baking
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar for coating
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans (or nuts of your choice)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add butter, 1/4 cup confectioners sugar, and vanilla to mixing bowl and mix until combined.
  3. Slowly add in flour, salt, and chopped nuts until evenly distributed.
  4. Scoop out 1 tablespoon of dough and carefully form into small ball and place on lined cookie sheet.
  5. Continue making balls until all the dough is gone making sure to leave some space between each cookie on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake in the oven for 11-12 minutes.
  7. Put 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar in a separate bowl.
  8. Let cookies cool until you can handle them and coat each cookie with the confectioners sugar while they’re still warm.
  9. Place coated cookies on cooling rack until completely cooled and coat one more time with the confectioners sugar.
  10. Serve with plenty of napkins!

1 thought on “Russian Tea Cakes (Snowballs)”

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