I love home made cookies as I know for sure that I wouldn't ever get to see the calorie value of the cookies I bite into, unlike the packaged ones where the first thing I always seem to count are the 'Fat Calories' :) Remember, how the very mention of a food item can bring back some very fond memories......well, the Melting moments cookies does make me a wee bit nostalgic. I do remember how I used to take hand written notes of this recipe to my mother's friends home as a little girl. And the many times mom and her friends would discuss cookies at tea parties, melting moments would definitely find a mention :) These Russian tea cookies are very delicate. Oh, so very delicate they simply melt in your mouth....hence the name. History has it that the Russians baked them for their tea sharing ceremonies during the 18th century. They just mixed flour, water and nuts and baked them, finally dredging the hot baked cookies in powdered sugar. Apparently they added more sugar once the cookies cooled down. The water in the recipe was replaced by oodles of butter over the course of time, which made these cookies really light. The Mexicans have a similar cookie called 'Mexican Wedding Cookies' which uses ground anise as an additional ingredient and are traditionally a part of every mexican wedding. These cookies are better known as 'Snowball cookies' in the US and are a part of Christmas holiday traditions. I baked these cookies recently and was simply blown away by their crisp lightness. When I told my mother about me baking them, she said she always preferred baking other cookies than baking these. She felt there was much better use of all the butter that went into baking a batch of these.... yup, she sure was health conscious. All the same, indulge in the melting moments cookies first and count all the fat calories later :)
Flour - 2 cups (sifted)
Butter - 1 cup (2 sticks, softened at room temperature)
Sugar - 1/2 cup (add a few tsps more if you want sweeter cookies)
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Vanilla extract - 2 tsps
Chopped nuts - 1/2 or 3/4 cup (chopped and roasted almonds, pistachios and walnuts)
Confectioners sugar - 1/2 cup
1) Preheat oven to 325 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or silpat. You can use a medium or large size cookie tray for these cookies.
2) Cream butter in a large bowl by beating it with a hand or stand mixer for about 2 minutes till it is very soft. Add sugar and vanilla extract to it. Continue beating the butter for about 3 minutes till the mixture is pale yellow and not gritty. Take care to scrap the sides of the bowl while beating to ensure all the butter is well creamed.
|Flour, sugar, butter and vanilla essence|
3) Sift together the flour and salt. Remember to measure out 2 cups of flour after sifting it first. That way air will be incorporated into the flour and will ensure soft cookies, since there is no baking soda or powder in this recipe.
4) Divide the flour into three parts and add it little at a time to the creamed mixture and blend thoroughly with a spatula.
5) Add the nuts and mix well. Use store bought roasted nuts or roast them at home. First chop them into small pieces, then microwave them for about 20 secs at high power. That way they will be crunchy and add flavor to the cookies.
6) The cookies dough should be soft in texture. Scoop out 1 inch balls with a spoon or ice cream scoop and place them on the parchment lined sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes till the sides of the cookies are slightly brown. Don't allow the cookies to brown completely. Russian tea cookies are meant to be slightly browned on the sides only.
7) Once done, remove the cookies onto a cooling wire rack or another unused baking sheet. Once cooled, roll the cookies in confectioners sugar. You can either buy this sugar at the store or just powder a cup of granulated sugar in the mixie or coffee grinder.
8) Now sit back and enjoy the most delicate cookie ever......just melts in your mouth!!!
|Cookie dough ready for the oven!|
|Cookies left to cool on a baking sheet|
|Dredging cookies in confectioners sugar|
|No one can eat just one :)|
Note: This recipe should make close to 3 dozen cookies. It should store upto 2 weeks in an air tight container.