Daring Bakers' Challenge. This month would have been SO fun and really truly a challenge (it sounded like one of those 2-3 day projects when I read through it!) But as you all know I spent most of the month in Africa and barely had enough time to take a shower when I got home; nevermind bake a 3 day project! Over the next few days you'll notice those fantastic Daring Bakers posting about tackling the French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand. Hosts Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux instructed us to build this beauty for December. Jen and Helen have particularly beautiful ones (2 of my favorite DBs!)
There's a little butter in these ---- Powdered sugar inside and out!
Good vanilla extract - lots of it ---- I use pecans; you can use anything
However - I do not have a beautiful French Yule Log to share so instead I'll share with you an entry I've been meaning to write for a while now. Russian Tea Cookies! aka: Mexican Wedding Cakes, Snowballs, Viennese Sugarballs, Southern Pecan Butterballs, Italian Butter Nuts... you call them what you want. But I call them delicious! My mom faithfully makes these every Christmas (along with literally 7-8 other cookies/candies) and my dad eats pounds of them!
I think it's funny that so many countries claim this cookie. I'm even told (by coworkers) that it's very similar to an Indian cookie called Nankhatai which is the same without the nuts. I actually made these and took them to work when I heard that a coworker is allergic to eggs. What a challenge that posed to me. What goodie could I make and take to work that didn't have eggs?!!
Before baking and after; you'll notice they barely spread so you can put them close on the sheet
The different variations of Russian Tea cookies are either sliced into round discs like we do, rolled into balls or even cut into shapes. There's really no rule to how you make them. Heck, just make up another name for them and call it your own! I like to shake them in powdered sugar while they're still warm (the sugar COATS the cookie and melts a bit over them) while Mom prefers to sprinkle them with powdered sugar as she serves them (they're far less sweet or messy that way!)
Russian Tea Cookies
1 pound butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
Cream butter, add sugar and mix. Add remaining ingredients in order given. Add 1/4 cup of flour at a time. Roll and place in fridge to harden. Slice 1/4" and bake 375 for 10-12 minutes. Shake in powdered sugar while still warm (or sprinkle when cooled for less sugar coating).