No matter what you may call them though, both titles include the "cake" moniker. I'm a flip flopper. I call these cookies both mexican wedding cakes and russian tea cakes. Although, in all honesty, I'd have to disagree with the "cake" title. These cookies are definitely not cakes. They're light, crisp, little medallions. Maybe a few hundred years ago when cakes were inherently crisp and dry would these tasty treats passed as cakes, but not anymore. They are officially in the cookie category. I do admit though that mexican wedding cookie, or russian tea cookie is not as charming as cake.
This recipe is courtesy of Emril Lagasse. Delicious, a perfect russian/mexican, cookie/cake. A holiday crowd pleaser as well. In fact, the first thing Thomas said to me yesterday morning was "bring me cookies!". He's in love (a man who doesn't love sweets has become hooked on these nutty little cookies). They're too easy. No eggs, just butter, sugar, vanilla and a bit of flour. Easy and delicious?! This is a must make cookie for this holiday season.
Recipe: Russian/Mexican Wedding/Tea Cookies/Cakes
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar, plus more for rolling cookies
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
1. Cream butter in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the vanilla then gradually add the 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
3. Sift the flour, measure, then sift again with the salt.
4. Add gradually to the butter mixture. Add the pecans and mix well.
5. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
6. Flatten slightly using the bottom of a glass, then bake for 20 minutes, or until edges are very lightly browned.
7. Remove the cookies from the baking sheets and roll in powdered sugar while still hot.
8. Cool on wire racks and roll cookies again in powdered sugar before serving.
Once they are completely cooled, cookies may be stored in airtight containers for up to 1 week.