These miniature snowball cookies were the foundation of the Christmas cookie baking season when I was a kid. They were always made every year, sometimes a second batch had to be baked as we had eaten them all before the big day! You can use pecans but I rarely do; walnuts are cheaper and I sort of prefer their flavor for this cookie. Some people call them Mexican Wedding Cookies but we generally called them Russian Teacakes… For me it is not Christmas without these cookies so I was extremely pleased to find a great gf recipe. My sisters think they are better tasting than the old regular recipe!
They are easy to make with not too many ingredients. Be careful lifting them off the pan as they are delicate until fully cooled. The texture and subtle flavor of this GF version is actually superior to the wheat flour recipe of my childhood. When you bite into one it shatters into a delicious mouthful of sweet cookie. They are delightful with a cup of tea or coffee. My family clamors for a few to take home!
If you like them really sweet sprinkle on extra powdered sugar, less of it makes them perfect for those who are not used to too much sweetness. No one will ever know they are GF and you will get complements on their flavor and texture. This recipe is from Annalise Roberts’ fabulous Gluten-Free Baking Classics with some minor changes by me. Enjoy: they are rather addictive cookies!
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
6 tbsp. powdered (confectioners) sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups brown rice mix (recipe below)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 cup walnuts or pecans chopped fine
Confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling
Directions: beat butter and powdered sugar in large bowl of stand mixer until light and creamy. Add vanilla, beat in. Add flour and gum, mix in until well blended, stir in walnuts until distributed. Chill dough for an hour.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Form dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in powdered sugar if you like. Place on cookie sheet lightly sprayed with Pam (not the baker’s version that has flour). Place about 1 ½ inches apart. Bake 13 to 15 minutes until lightly browned on top and bottom. Cool on pan for 5 min and then sprinkle with lots of powdered sugar before placing on wire rack to cool. I like to sift it onto the cookies so the coating is even. You could put a sheet of wax paper under the wire rack to catch the excess sugar. Store well wrapped: in airtight container, in fridge for a week or freezer for up to 30 days. You could store unbaked dough in fridge for a few days.
Brown Rice Flour Mix base mix (same as King Arthur gf blend)
2 c brown rice flour
2/3 c potato starch *not potato flour
1/3 c tapioca flour
Note: First posted December 2014 on my blog. Minor revisions have been made since then.