Sometime around Thanksgiving, the office starts to wonder when their favorite holiday cookies will arrive . Every now and then you can hear a voice in the background saying, “I wonder when the Russian Tea Balls will be here . . .”
They never know which day in December they will walk through to door to find a heaping tray of their absolute favorite cookies of all time, the Russian Tea Balls.
Could be today. Could be tomorrow. You never know.
But it was yesterday.
The first thing I heard when they spotted the cookies was “I love December!”
These cookies are amazing with a hot cup of coffee or of course, tea.
RUSSIAN TEA BALLS
1 cup soft butter (be sure to get the gourmet, slightly more expensive salted butter, it’s the #1 secret to making these cookies amazing)
½ cup sifted powdered sugar (who sifts anymore? I just measure it out and move on)
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¼ cup flour
½ tsp salt
¾ cup chopped nuts (I buy the chopped nuts but then run them through the little food chopper for about 5 seconds to make them even smaller. This is just one of those tricks that make the recipe work better)
Lots of powdered sugar to roll the cookies in after they come out of the oven
Mix first 3 ingredients. Sift and stir in flour (who sifts?) and salt. Mix in chopped nuts. If the butter was soft enough, you’ll soon get a nice batch of cookie dough. You will know it when you see it.
Now, roll the dough into little balls. Bake on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees from 10-12 minutes (the trick is to not let the cookies brown at all). If your oven runs hot, your cookies will start to brown on the bottom a little too much. For the next batch, you can turn down the oven to 375 degrees and cook for about 11 minutes.
I usually let any cookies I bake cool on the cookie sheet for one minute, but no more than that because I think they keep cooking or something (I know that with chocolate chip cookies, if you leave them on the cookie sheet for more than a minute something bad happens so to be safe, I only let these cookies cool for one minute). I have a bowl of confectioners’ sugar all set up and drop the cookies into the bowl and coat them well with the powdered sugar. Then I put them on a rack to cool a bit longer but then at just the right time, I roll them in the powdered sugar again, just to be sure they are perfect. They should look like little snowballs on a tray.
This recipe makes about 30 – 36 cookies and everyone really happy!
All Heart, Annie
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