Saturday, December 17, 2011

Russian teacakes

Cashew teacakes

I remember eating these as a kid, when my mom would buy packaged ones at the grocery store. But years later, we stopped being able to find them at the store anymore, and when I got into baking, I decided to make some myself.

The problem was, I couldn't remember what they were called, and every recipe I found that sounded similar had a different name -- Russian teacakes? Mexican wedding cookies? Something like these, it seemed, was what I was looking for, but I distinctly remembered the cashews. I also remembered calling them Russian teacakes, though, which is what I continue to call them to this day, even though the recipes I turned up for those weren't quite the same. So I adapted a Russian teacake recipe to produce this one, which is pretty much like what I remembered eating as a kid.

Of course, now, just to add further confusion, I've been coming across "cashew nougats" at the grocery store, and they look similar to, if not the same as, the ones from my childhood. So maybe they've brought them back. Or maybe this is just another layer of confusion. Whatever -- I've got my own recipe now. I don't need that packaged stuff.

Russian Teacakes

1 c butter
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp confectioners' sugar, plus a lot more for rolling
2 c flour
1 c chopped cashews

1. Melt the butter and mix in the vanilla. Add in the confectioners' sugar and flour and mix until blended. Mix in the nuts. Chill.
2. Carefully break off bits of the dough (it will probably be crumbly) and form into 1-inch balls, placing them on a cookie sheet (these won't spread, so spacing doesn't matter much).
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, until they are a bit dry-looking and just slightly browned on the bottoms.
4. Immediately roll in confectioners' sugar. Let cool, then roll in sugar a second time.

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