Monday, January 2, 2012

Baked goods for the holidays - Russian tea cakes and good ol chocolate chip cookies

For the holidays, I baked up 2 types of cookies for everyone to enjoy.
Of course, this was just really an excuse to show off my new cake stand.

Around 2 weeks ago, Jeff was telling me how he really enjoyed eating these "round" and "white" cookies.  I really had no idea what he was talking about.
Apparently, these cookies tastes "good" and only appear around the holidays.
It really did not ring a bell.

After a few minutes of Googling, Jeff found that these cookies have a bunch of different names, such as "Russian Tea Cakes", "Pecan Butterballs", "Mexican wedding cakes","Snowballs" and "Pecan Sandies".
I have heard of the last name, but none of the other names that the Google search yielded.
(I'm starting to think that no one really knows the name, so people are just making names up.  Lol.  And, btw, Mexicans do not eat these at weddings. )

After pulling up a promising looking recipe (you can usually tell if a recipe looks pretty good based on the ingredients and the proportions), I decided to make my own attempt at making Russian Tea Cakes.  (recipe at the bottom of the post).

Russian Tea Cakes waiting to go in the oven

The recipe was pretty straight forward and easy, and the result was very buttery, flaky, and shortbread-y.
I really liked it.
The only problem was that I finely chopped the pecans by running it in the blender for a couple of seconds, and that gave me pecan powder rather than chopped pecans.  So next time I make Russian tea cakes, I am chopping them by hand!
I also wish that the powdered sugar (that you sprinkle on after the cookies are done baking) did a better job sticking on.  I love powdered sugar....
After eating the cookie, it confirmed that, NOPE, I never seen or eaten these cookies before.
I have asked a few others about this cookie and there was a mix of answers (some have had the cookie in the past, and some did not know of its existence).



I also made chocolate chip cookies because chocolate chip cookies are my favorite cookie of all time!
You can't go wrong!  And I have not met one person who dislikes chocolate chip cookies.

I actually halved the recipe....
The chocolate chip cookie recipe was also very simple and is your typical choc chip cookie recipe.
My only problem with choc chip cookies is that the cookies spread out during baking and never come out uniform!
I don't know how people can make perfectly shaped cookies every time!!  If you know the secret, please share!  (your secret will be safe with me).


RUSSIAN TEA CAKES

Ingredients:

16 Tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

½ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus about 1¼ cups for coating the cookies

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

¼ tsp. salt

cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup finely chopped pecans

Instructions:
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until creamy. Add ½ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and salt. With the beaters on low speed, mix in the flour just until incorporated. Mix in the pecans.
  2. Using your hands, gather the dough into a ball inside the bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. (The dough becomes very firm when refrigerated for a longer time, but it will soften after about 1 hour at room temperature.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 1 or 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Pinch off small clumps of dough and roll into 1-inch balls, arranging them about 1½ inches apart on the prepared sheet(s). Bake for 11 to 12 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden on the bottom and just barely beginning to color on top. (If using 2 cookie sheets, rotate them from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through baking.) Let the cookies cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes.
  5. Place the remaining 1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar in a shallow bowl. While the cookies are still warm, roll them in the sugar to coat. (Be gentle, because the cookies are fragile.) Set them on a rack to cool. Just before serving or storing, recoat the cookies with sugar.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES:

Ingredients:
    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 large eggs
    2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. 
  3. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. 
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  5. Gradually beat in flour mixture. 
  6. 6. Stir in chocolate chips. 
  7. (Optional) Place the dough in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.  (To me, this seems to help keep the dough from being runny, the next step easier).
  8. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. 
  9. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

1 comment:

Bartending Training said...

Amazingly easy and really looks delicious. I'm definitely craving for a plate of that right now. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. This is definitely a must do recipe this weekend since I got my Food Handler Certification.