Grain-Free Russian Tea Cakes

December  2, 2013
3 Ratings
Author Notes

You might know these cookies by any number of names: Russian tea cakes, Russian tea cookies, Mexican wedding cookies, polvorones, or any other family names for the little nutty balls of flour and butter, swathed in powdered sugar. For many of us, these cookies are the cookies for December. Here's a version -- grain-free and gluten-free -- that everyone can eat.

Update: a few folks made the cookies as written and complained they didn't hold together. I made them again, as written, and realized the psyllium husk had somehow been left out of the recipe. The psyllium helps absorb some of the liquid and hold together as balls. So do try the recipe as it is written now!

Additionally, there was some question about the almond flour. This recipe calls for finely ground almond flour, which is much finer than the almond meal most commonly sold in stores. If you have almond meal, you can grind it finer in a powerful blender.

Finally, before you bake the cookies, put the balls of dough on a baking sheet, then place the baking sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes. This helps with all cookies! —glutenfreegirl

  • Makes 18 cookies
  • 180 grams finely ground almond flour
  • 100 grams tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon psyllium husk
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
In This Recipe
  1. Combining the dry ingredients. Whisk together the almond flour, tapioca flour, psyllium husk, and kosher salt until they are fluffy together.
  2. Making the dough. Put the coconut oil, dates, honey, and vanilla extract into the bowl of the food processor. Whirl them up until they are a coherent mixture. Add the flour mixture until the batter comes together in a moist ball. Add the walnuts and pulse the food processor until the nuts are folded into the batter. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour before baking.
  3. Preparing to bake. Heat the oven to 325° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Baking the cookies. Roll the refrigerated dough into small balls. Put 12 of them onto a baking sheet. Bake until the edges of the cookies start to brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Finish baking all the cookies. When the cookies have cooled enough to touch, roll each one in the bowl of powdered sugar. Put them onto a cooling rack, set over another baking sheet. (This saves having to clean the counter of powdered sugar.) Eat!

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Shauna writes about food. Danny cooks it. We grow excited every Saturday morning to go to the farmers' market. This time of year, a Billy Allstot tomato is enough to make us look like goons at the stand, jumping up and down with excitement. We will eat one slice with sea salt, standing over the sink. Another goes to our baby daughter. The rest might go into the smoker to make smoked tomato salsa, or thrown together with watermelon and good olive oil for a watermelon gazpacho, or stacked with smoked salmon and drizzled with horseradish sour cream. Every day is new. I have no idea what we're having for dinner tonight. But I'm sure interested to find out.