These egg-free cookies are also known as Russian or Mexican tea cakes.
Make Ahead: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Servings: 24 cookies
- 24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus 9 tablespoons for rolling the cookies
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted (see NOTE)
Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper.
Combine the butter and 3/4 cup of the confectioner's sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on medium speed until creamy.
Reduce the speed to low; add the vanilla extract and beat to incorporate, then gradually add the flour and salt to form a fairly stiff dough. Add the nuts; beat just until well distributed.
Scoop into 24 balls of equal size and arrange on the baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake on the upper and lower racks for 7 to 9 minutes, then rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back; bake for 8 to 9 minutes, until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, place the remaining 9 tablespoons of sugar in a medium-size, deep bowl. Place a large sheet of wax paper or newspaper under a wire cooling rack.
Transfer 4 or 5 still-warm cookies at a time to the sugar and roll to coat evenly, then place on the rack. Repeat to use all of the dough and coat all of the warm cookies. When the cookies have cooled, reroll them in the sugar.
NOTE: To toast the pecans, spread them on a baking sheet and place in a 350-degree oven, shaking the sheet occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully; nuts burn quickly.
From Michelle Poteaux, co-owner and pastry chef of Bastille in Alexandria.
Tested by Lucy Shackelford .
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.