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Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Russian Tea Cakes #fbcookieswap

This year I participated in the Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap co-organized by Julie at The Little Kitchen and Lindsay at Love & Olive Oil. In order to participate, we submit an application and when you're accepted, you receive three names of other bloggers that are participating and you have a deadline to make one dozen cookies for each person and mail the cookies off to them.

Not only do you get to try some delicious cookies from other bloggers, but it's also for a good cause. When we submit our application, each participant donates a small sum which goes to Cookies for kids' Cancer. And the brand partners, OXO, Dixie CrystalsCalifornia Olive Ranch, and Brownie Brittle, will each match the donations, up to $3000. That's a lot so a big Thank You to all brand partners!

This is the first year I participated and it won't be my last as it was so much fun! I'm such a procrastinator and meeting a deadline always makes me turn up the juice. But having to meet a deadline when I have to figure in my work schedule kind of made me less of a procrastinator, which was a good thing because I was ahead of the curve. Well, maybe just by a day or two {smile}.

The bloggers who sent me cookies were Laura at Main Line Feast , Janelle at F-Chem 101 , and Kristi from Inspiration Kitchen.  Laura sent me Spiked Chocolate Pecan Pie bites that were so delicious! They were all buttery, nutty, and chocolatey. Janelle sent me Chocolate Coconut Icebox Cookies and y'all know how much I love coconut! While Kristi sent me Mexican Wedding Cookies, which were just scrumptious.

Everybody who participated will be posting our recipes today on each of our blogs, so head on over and check out the other girls' cookie recipes too. You can also search #fbcookieswap and see all the photos related to current and past cookie swaps. And if you missed this years deadline and are thinking about joining next year, you can receive notifications and sign up now for next years Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap here.

The bloggers who received my Christmas Russian Tea Cakes were Alison at Fridgg, Sara from Sara Ran Away With the Spoon, and Brett at Green Thumb White Apron. And now I'm sharing my recipe with y'all.

The original recipe came from my mom and is a Christmas tradition in our family. My mom has made these cookies every Christmas for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I knew them as Butterball cookies but they're also known as Russian Tea Cakes, Snowballs, Mexican Wedding Cookies, and Italian Wedding Cookies.

To make them more Christmassy, I added a little hint of red and green color with the candied cherries. And since I changed the recipe, I've renamed these Christmas Russian Tea Cakes.

The result, as described by Allison, is magical. But don't just take her word for it, make them yourself and taste a little Christmas magic.

Christmas Russian Tea Cakes

Makes about 3 dozen cookies


1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 Tablespoon minus 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract*

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 and 1/2 cups walnuts, finely chopped

1/4 cup red candied cherries, chopped

1/4 cup green candied cherries, chopped

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

2 cups powdered sugar in a small bowl for rolling cookies in after baking


Preheat oven to 325F degrees.

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Chop walnuts and place in a small bowl. Set aside.

Chop candied cherries and place in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add butter, sifted powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla. Mix until creamy.

Blend in walnuts and candied cherries.

Slowly add in sifted flour and mix until all ingredients are blended. Mixture will be crumbly but it rolls together nicely when making balls.

Take about 1 Tablespoon of cookie dough between your hands and roll into a ball. Place 2" apart onto prepared cookie sheet. They should maintain their round shape after baking and should not spread.

Place into preheated oven and bake for 15-18 minutes. Cookies should have similar color as when uncooked and should not be allowed to brown.

Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes on cookie sheet before placing onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Place a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper under wire cookie rack before you start rolling cookies in powdered sugar.

After cookies have cooled, roll each cookie in a small bowl of powdered sugar, covering entire cookie, and place back on wire cookie rack. You can also sift powdered sugar over the tops before storing for an extra layer of dusting.

Can be stored in an air tight container for up to 1 week. Trust me, they won't be around that long!

*Helpful Hints*

- * The vanilla and almond extract will equal 1 Tablespoon together.

- You can use more candied cherries, if you like.

- You can also make these with pecans instead of walnuts. I prefer walnuts because they taste more buttery to me.

- If you don't have parchment paper available, you can also place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet. Just watch them carefully. I think the parchment paper helps prevent the bottom of the cookies from browning, so that is my preference. My mom has always made these cookies on ungreased cookie sheets.

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Shared with: The Southern Special Week 37, The Wednesday Roundup #55, Inspire Us Thursday Link Party #79, Crafty and Delicious Party, On Display Thursday Week 24, Sweet and Savoury Sundays #93, Busy Monday 145, Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party #38