These Citrus and Spice Russian Tea Cakes are the perfect holiday cookie! The dough comes together quickly, and after a quick chill in the refrigerator, they’re ready to roll in to little balls to bake. They’re citrusy, with the addition of clementine zest, and get the spice that we all know and love from ground ginger and cinnamon. The perfect little “two bite” cookie!
Around the holidays, I love to bake.
Well, I love to bake ALL the time, but it seems a little more socially acceptable to have copious amounts of butter on hand at any given time in the month of December.
My sister, sister-in-law, my mom, and I get together each year to get after that holiday baking. Much like many of you, I’m sure! We have our go-to’s, but every year, I like to bring something a little different. This recipe is actually a cross between the two of those prerequisites: my mom has been making Russian Tea Cakes for as long as I can remember, but I added my own little twist with the addition of clementine zest and a few choice spices.
And goodness, are they good.
If you’ve made Russian Tea Cakes before, you know that powdered sugar is a required ingredient. You roll the balls of dough in powdered sugar before you bake them, and then they get another dose of the snowy sugar right when they come out of the oven. The cookies are still hot, which results in some of the sugar melting on to the cookie, thus allowing MORE powdered sugar to properly adhere.
There is something so nostalgic in these cookies. Sure, my mom has been making these for years, but I would argue that these cookies hold a special place in a lot of people’s hearts. This cookie is a basic shortbread dough, with chopped nuts (pecans, please and thank you!) added. Your family may not call them “Russian Tea Cakes”, but I’m certain there is a similar recipe in your family’s baking history.
I love the classic “citrus & spice” flavors of the holidays, so I knew I wanted to give these cookies a little but of a flavor kick. Orange is fine, but I had so many clementines on hand it was starting to get a little ridiculous.
This was in an effort to stave off ANY and ALL sickness from our household.
Update: efforts proved unsuccessful.
Anyway! I added the zest of a few clementines. Some ground ginger. Some nutmeg. And some more nutmeg.
The flavors perfectly married, and created a light citrus and spice profile to the cookie.
Yum yum yum.
Don’t these looks like adorable little snowballs?! I mean…come on.
These are highly encouraged to be enjoyed amidst a winter storm, with a cup of tea, snuggled up with plenty of blankets.
Or, you know. On like, a Tuesday morning.
You do you.