Russian Food Network: Russian Tea Cookies

 

Recipe:

 ¼ cup unsalted butter                   pinch of salt

½ cup sugar                                     ½ teaspoon baking powder

1 egg                                                   ¼ teaspoon mace

½ teaspoon vanilla extract            ½ teaspoon ground coriander

1 cup flour                                          Candied orange rind

Preheat the oven to 375OF. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.

Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture, mixing well.

Drop by scant teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased and floured cookie sheets. Top each cookie with a piece of candied orange rind, pressing down slightly to flatten the cookie.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned.

Yield: 3 dozen small cookies

Russian tea cookies (also known as tea cakes, butterballs, snowballs, Swedish tea cakes, moldy mice, and/or almond crescents) have been around since the 1950s. Russian tea cookies were traced to a cookie introduced to Europe by the Moors when they invaded Spain in the 8th century. They brought with them sugar cane and the technology to make sugar from it. Sugar use spread throughout Europe, and so did the cookie recipe. In Medieval Europe, they were commonly referred to as jumble. Europeans introduced this recipe to North America in the mid-1600s and from there it has been replicated and currently still made today around the holidays here in the United States.

Making these cookies was fairly simple. There was not that many ingredients required. The only thing that I did have to substitute for was the candied orange rinds, I used coconut instead (couldn’t find any candied orange rinds in the stores). These cookies were not like the tea cookies we make here in the United States, we have definitely altered the recipe. I would add walnuts to this recipe to distract your taste buds from the strong sweetness these cookies have. Also, to drink with these, tea is definitely recommend to dunk them in but make it an herbal tea, these cookie are far too sweet to mix with a sweet tea. I would recommend reading Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov. It tackles the messiness of Russian history and draws from Nabokov’s own experiences teaching and fitting into American society. It also looks at immigration culture in the United States. This novels fits with the fact that these cookies have been altered here in the United States just like how the character was altered in the novel.