June 06, 2011

Russian Tea Cookies

A few nights ago, I tried to make macarons without an electric mixer, like a fool. What should've taken me a few seconds with a mixer took half an hour by hand. I left it alone for a while (again, like a fool) and when I came back, humidity had done its job and the batter was soggy again.

Today, I made Russian tea cookies because that's one of the few things my woefully under-equipped kitchen can handle. When I started cooking and went to the department store to buy cooking and baking supplies, my mom shrieked when she saw my cart. She couldn't see why I would ever need rolling pins (I used bottles and cans to flatten food before) or understand the logic of buying a kitchen scale when we already had measuring cups. All efforts to convince her that volume =/= weight were futile. So until I save up for a mixer and a scale, I'm sticking to recipes that don't require newfangled appliances.

Russian tea cookies are perfect because they're so easy to make and require few ingredients. The hardest(?) part is creaming the butter; you don't even have to sift the flour. And somehow, even when you bastardize the recipe like I did, it still comes out great.

Aforementioned bastardization: I used buttermilk margarine instead of butter because it's cheaper and 1/2 cup ground almonds instead of a cup of chopped walnuts because I find walnuts prohibitively expensive (see the trend?). Apparently, you should use good quality butter, though. The cookies still came out great; I love how the first thing you taste is sweetness of the confectioner's sugar but the moment you bite into the cookie, the nutty flavor balances out the saccharine. You can find the original recipe here.

* Best eaten with tea, as the name implies (call me Captain Obvious).
** Also while watching Dr. Zhivago.
*** Fun fact! This is also known as a Mexican Wedding Cake! Because some Americans refused to mention Russia during the Cold War!

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