Straight out of my Nana’s recipe book, these Russian Tea Cakes (AKA “nut balls”) are the same soft, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth nutty cookies found all over the world at Christmastime.
We’re over the hump! Thanksgiving has (successfully) come and gone, and now we’re full-speed ahead plummeting toward all things red and green and glittery.
I, for one, am alright with that. Although, I’m finding it hard to believe that Christmas is less than a month away already. Wasn’t I just waxing poetic about how much I was longing for cooler weather and pumpkin flavored everything?
My pumpkin craving has been curbed, for sure, but I’m still on the lookout for the cool weather. WTF Florida. It is November…high 80’s are totally unnecessary in November.
In spite of our lack of seasonally appropriate temps, I can feel myself beginning to get into the holiday spirit! Mr. Crumby and I are enjoying our last vacation of the year (after a very exhausting Thanksgiving week), and we’re cleaning house, putting up all our festive trimmings, and devising ways to usher our favorite holiday into our lives (which involves Black Friday shopping, Disney, and a possible trip to some snowier climates!)
The most immediate solution, of course, is a bit of Christmas cookie baking!
This page includes step by step instructions, as well as tips and notes. If you’d like to skip all that, feel free to scroll down to the full, printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
I really don’t know the proper name for these little white balls of love.
The yellowed page in Nana’s recipe book just calls them Nut Balls; I’ve also seen them named Russian Tea Cakes, Italian/Mexican Wedding Cookies, Snowball Cookies…
Whichever name you choose, the recipe is basically the same. They’re traditional Christmas cookies somewhere all over the world!
What are the ingredients in Russian Tea Cakes?
The four main components of these cookies are simple, but boy, do they command an audience!
Out of all the Christmas cookie recipes that I make every year, my own creations and from Nana’s book, these are probably the most favored.
My grandfather, my husband, my bestie’s father…they all tend to get a bit crazy about them. Even Nana herself loved them best.
I had to bake these no less than three times last Christmas. The first batch was completely decimated by the hubs in a forty-eight hour period. I was less than thrilled but, lucky for him, they’re terribly quick and easy to throw together.
I’m afraid to think how many of these we might plow through this year.
One batch down at the time of this post, and it isn’t even December. Anyone want to place bets?
HELPFUL KITCHEN TOOLS FOR MAKING RUSSIAN TEA CAKES:
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Nana’s Russian Tea Cakes
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour sifted
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ⅔ cup nuts chopped (walnuts, pecans)
- Powdered sugar for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine butter, powdered sugar, flour, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon. When mixture begins to come together, add nuts and continue mixing.
- Shape into ¾-1-inch balls and place at least an inch apart on baking sheets (these cookies don’t spread much). Bake for 25-30 minutes, until light golden brown.
- Allow cookies to cool to room temperature, then roll in powdered sugar.