There are a lot of cookies coming your way in the next month. Some are the classic holiday cookies straight from my mother’s kitchen, and others are new but soon to be classics, and still others are cookie extravaganzas straight from the weirdly cookie and scone obsessed mind of, well, me! Those cookies and desserts might get a little multi-step on you, so let’s ease our ovens into the cookie season with an easy, breezy twist on a classic.
Remember our discussion about teacakes? Long time ago, I know. But I mentioned these little cookies called Russian Teacakes; that name is such a misnomer because there is nothing cake like about these cookies and they contain no tea! But what’s in a name, right? These cookies, no matter what you call them, are a holiday tradition in my family’s cookie boxes. Yes I make cookie boxes for people. Did you think I ate those 50 batches of cookies by myself? Nope, I pack them up in festive little boxes and send them off with every person who leaves my house or apartment in the month of December. And Russian Teacakes are always in the box.
Also helps that these cookies are my mom’s favorite holiday cookie.
So this is a kind of two-in-one recipe, because this is a variation on the traditional Russian Teacake recipe where the only change is to add in mini chocolate chips. You’ll still get the crumbly butter cookie and the mouthful of powdered sugar when you inhale before biting in to the cookie. Just if you decide to go with the variation you’ll also get a side note of semi-sweet chocolate. And who is going to say no to some chocolate? Exactly. But if you really don’t want to add any chocolate, just omit the chips and you have a traditional Russian Teacake recipe. Some people add nuts to their Russian Teacakes, but my family keeps them plain. Or now chocolate-chipified (anyone realize how often I make up words?).
The cookie dough itself is not all that sweet–there is only half a cup of sugar in the dough–but two layers of sifted powdered sugar will sweeten them right up. The cookies don’t spread so you can fit a lot of them on each cookie sheet. These cookies may be easy, but they are a delightful two bite sweet tradition. Because the cookies are so small, you’ll need to use mini chocolate chips. Too large will overwhelm the basic dough’s simplicity.
My last piece of advice: Don’t breathe in right before you take a bite of these cookies or else you’ll be breathing in a puff of powdered sugar!
chocolate chip russian teacakes
- 1 cup butter, softened
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ cup mini chocolate chips (omit for traditional Russian Teacakes)
- additional confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. In a separate bowl, whisk flour and salt together. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter. Stir in mini chocolate chips (for traditional Russian Teacakes omit chocolate chips). Chill dough for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll dough into 1 tbsp balls. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cookies will not spread. Bake 10-12 minutes until set but not brown.
Remove from oven. (I suggest removing the cookies to a wire rack over pieces of wax paper to make this next step easier cleanup.) While still warm dust with a generous amount of sifted confectioners’ sugar. Repeat with a second coat of sugar. Let cool completely before storing.