“A partially frozen lake and miles of snow-covered ground stretch before us. Sparkling white, untouched, powdery, and ours. Flurries of snowflakes waltz from the sky and frost our hair. We race through the snow: tackling, wrestling, making snowballs. We fall into the snow, a mass of laughing tangled limbs.”
The cookies above remind me of white snowy winters. Winters up in mountains where stretches of freshly fallen snow are trampled upon by the feet of excited children and snowballs are hurled back and forth. There are lumps, mounds, and mixed up footprints, and even though the tranquility of the place may have been ruined, passersby know that happy memories were created there.
The recipe that I have for you today is similar to a Russian Tea Cake. To be honest, I don’t quite know the difference between the two ‘cakes’. I don’t even know why these are called cakes when they are clearly cookies. All I know is that every winter, my mom bakes a wonderful batch of these smooth, crumbly, nutty goodness.
Personally, for me, these cookies bring back so many heartwarming memories of twinkling lights on a Christmas tree, a house filled with boisterous laughter, scents of warm home cooked meals, the footsteps of children racing up and down stairs, and nights where everyone is nestled closely together on the couch to watch a classic holiday film.
I hope these cookies will do for you, as they have for me.
Yesterday I tried to ‘health-ify’ the recipe as much as I could while still remaining true to the recipe. This in turn resulted me in using a small amount of…*gasp* refined sugar…I know, I know. Terrible. But life is about balance. During the holiday season, you can always get away with indulging in something sweet as long as you’re not doing it in excess, right?
The recipe is simple, and in actuality, it only calls for 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar). Most of it is actually composed of all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, almond meal, pecans, and walnuts.
You’ll definitely need 3/4 cups of pecans, walnuts, or both. I mixed and matched because having a variety of nuts = a variety of nutrients!
Remember to chop them finely.
Once you mix them into the batter, roll 1 inch balls and set them on an un-greased baking sheet. Basically, you should either set out parchment paper or use these Silicone Baking Mats.
I like these mats only because I can re-use them, nothing sticks to them, and they’re good for the environment.
Once they’ve baked, remove them from the oven to let them cool. There’s some confectioner’s sugar in the background eyeing them.
Pour some of the powdered sugar onto a plate. Roll the tea cakes into the sugar. They’ll start to look like little snowballs. Set them aside on different plate. A lot of times the sugar will fall off, which is okay. You don’t want too much of it anyways.
I promise you that these tea cakes will be a hit at any Christmas party! They’ll also be healthier than your regular sugar cookies and whatnot.
As our Bay Area winter this year seems to be more ‘normal’ than usual, it has been nearly impossible to leave the safe confines of my home without layers of clothing on. I’m back to wearing scarves, coats, and boots when I set foot outside in order to brace the below 40 degree weather.
I’ve also been waking up in the morning to discover frost coating my neighbor’s lawn and remaining there until noon. There are bright blue skies and plenty of sunlight, yet somehow the chill is inescapable. It’s frigid outside and I imagine that there should be flurries of snowflakes tumbling from the sky. But alas, there’s no snow, boo. I’ll have to just take these cookies and pretend that they’re little snowballs (I don’t recommend having a fight with them, though).
I think my mom got the original recipe from Bridget Klein on Eating Well.
- ¾ cup melted coconut oil (you can also use regular vegetable oil)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup almond meal
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup powdered sugar plus more for the end
- 3 Tbsp corn starch
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ¾ cups nuts (pecans or walnuts or both)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- In the mixer, add the melted coconut oil. In a separate bowl, mix almond meal, all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients by adding spoonfuls into the mixer as it is mixing. Occasionally pause the mixer and scrape down the sides. Mix in the nuts.
- Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place them on an un-greased baking sheet. Or you can line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Bake the tea cakes for 10-12 mins (make sure the bottoms of your tea cakes don't get so brown that they burn)
- Remove the tea cakes and let them sit for a few minutes to cool before transferring them to a wire rack.
- Once the tea cakes have cooled, pour some confectioner/powdered sugar on a plate and roll the tea cakes into the powdered sugar until they've been coated. Set them aside on another plate and enjoy!
I hope you have fun baking these little guys up! Stay mindful, safe, happy, and healthy y’all!
Also, as a fun little note that I really want to share because it is absolutely super EXCITING, I got an interview by Plenty Vegan! Go ahead and click on the link to check it out 🙂