Russian Tea Cakes…Aloha Style

For a few months now, I have saved…tucked away in hidden safety from my ever curious children, particularly the eldest, the sweetest set of matryoshka doll measuring cups you’ve ever seen. Seriously? Matryoshka doll measuring cups, how can there even be such an awesome thing?  I was elated when I saw them at my favorite store in the central coast and thought they were absolutely appropriate for our study.  And, as it so happens, measuring cups are among the things used quite regularly (and easily destroyed) in our home and so I didn’t even feel the need to try and justify my purchase.  These sweet white plastic “dolls” stack so nicely together and tuck away quite cozily into our drawer as well, making them almost easier to store than traditional measuring cups.

With these fabulous dolls, we measured out the following ingredients to make our own Russian Tea Cakes (I add macadamia nuts instead of hazelnuts because I love the taste, which makes them a bit more Hawaiian, I guess).

(adapted from Bon Appetit)

2 1/4 cups flour

pinch of salt

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for dipping

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped or blended into a paste

Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. 

 In another bowl or mixer, cream butter until light and gradually add 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until fluffy, then add vanilla and slowly mix in dry ingredients.

 Finally, add macadamia nuts and chill for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 400*. Creating dough into 1-inch balls, space about 1-inch apart and bake until firm and slightly golden on top, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly, then roll in powdered sugar. Cool completely then roll again in powdered sugar.

Eat, eat, eat, especially with tea!

Some of you, like me, may have wondered why these cookies, originally from Russia, are sometimes called “Mexican Wedding Cakes”.  In my small amount of research done on the subject, I discovered that the name “Russian…” was likely changed to “Mexican…” during the Cold War.  Super fascinating!

Nonetheless, these were wonderfully enjoyed by all who partook, namely just those in our family and the kids had fun using the matryoshkas to measure their individual amounts to make this a team process.

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