A Harmony of Flavors

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Russian Tea Cakes and Pistachio Tea Cookies

I am making cookies. Slowly. A couple of days ago I made Russian Tea Cakes (aka Snowballs, Mexican Wedding Cakes), which are high on my favorites list. I love walnuts, and have always made them with walnuts. I love shortbread and shortbread type cookies too, so these are a hit no matter how you look at them. I saw somewhere on the internet that these cookies have been made in variations. One was using pistachio and green tea powder. Another I saw was a chocolate version. I just happened to have both pistachios and green tea powder, so I took my original recipe and played with ingredients and came up with my own version: Pistachio Tea Cookies. Just delicious.
Pistachio Tea Cookies

Pistachio Tea Cookies

2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon pistachio flavoring
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup matcha green tea powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted raw pistachios, finely ground

Cream together the butter, confectioners' sugar and flavorings.  If pistachio flavor is not available, use either all almond, or half almond and half vanilla extracts. Using a pastry cutter, cut into the creamed mixture the flour, matcha green tea powder and salt.  Add in the nuts and blend well. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Form small balls about 1 inch in diameter and place on ungreased cookie sheets to bake for 14 - 16 minutes or until just set but not browned. Makes about 7 1/2 dozen.
ready to bake

I found this dough worked really well with no need to chill it before making the cookies. I used a small cookie scoop 1 1/4 inch in diameter and packed the dough into the little scoop and dropped the cookies this way onto the cookie sheet. They were so cute! The scoop holds just over 2 teaspoons of dough, and these are just the perfect size.  Using one of these scoops makes cookies a real snap.  I would recommend that everyone invest in at least a couple of these smaller sizes.