Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baking on a Cool Day

Grant and I had Sunday and Monday off, and yesterday I got the urge to bake. It was a cool, rainy day. The rain, of course, melted all the snow we got last week. So now it's slushy and gross out. Anyway it was a perfect baking day! Plus my sweet tooth wanted something. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I finally chose to make Russian Tea Cakes. I think I first made these in my senior year of high school. I believe I made them for a cookie goodie bag I was giving out to people. I made them again last year with my sister just for us. I've finally perfected the recipe this year!

•1 cup butter
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
•2 cups all-purpose flour
•1 teaspoon milk
•1 cup ground walnuts (optional but recommended)
•1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2.In a medium bowl, cream butter and vanilla until smooth. Combine the 6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar and flour; stir into the butter mixture until just blended. Add milk. Mix in walnuts. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
3.Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When cool, roll in remaining confectioners' sugar.

Why did they come out so much better this year? I did something a little differently that I hadn't done before. I actually added the nuts. I was never a big nut-in-my-cookies fan before, so I had always excluded them. It says optional, right? True, but even adding a little extra flour just doesn't get the same taste or texture. I actually didn't have walnuts, but I did have almonds. Almonds worked perfectly, and I honestly don't think I'll use walnuts next time I make these just because they turned out so well! If I had had any almond extract I would have added that, but we didn't.

Another alteration I made was in the powder coating. I had extra ground almonds, so I mixed that with the powdered sugar. YUM! These made our rainy cold day better. :) What have you baked recently?

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