By Request

Betty Shimabukuro

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

These cookies will
work fine for Easter

This little white cloud of a cookie is a Christmastime standard, but given its egg-like look it would also be appropriate for spring and Easter baskets.

Adeline C. Baird wrote for a recipe for cookies made with macadamia nuts and powdered sugar -- "snowballs or white balls," she called them.

I've always known this type of cookie as a Russian Tea Cookie, a light confection made with finely chopped walnuts or pecans, rolled into a ball and coated with powdered sugar. Poking around recipe books, though, reveals that this basic formula has been adapted in many countries. There are Mexican Wedding Cakes, Spanish Polvorones (not to be confused with Polvorons, a Filipino candy), and in this country, Snowballs. My mother-in-law makes a version she calls Sandies.

In Hawaii, the standard nuts are sometimes replaced with macadamias.

Most recipes call only for vanilla flavoring, but some versions use rum instead -- or tequila. And then there's the Russian Tea Biscuit, made with hazelnuts and vodka.

Russian Tea Cookies

1 cup butter
6 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus more to coat baked cookies
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped walnuts, pecans or macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and powdered sugar. Mix in vanilla, then gradually add flour. Fold in nuts. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Roll in more powdered sugar to coat well. Cool on racks. If desired roll again in powdered sugar before serving. Makes 3 to 4 dozen.

Russian Tea Biscuits

2-1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vodka
3/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine flour and salt; set aside.

Cream together butter and powdered sugar. Beat in vodka. Gradually add flour mixture. Fold in nuts. Roll walnut sized pieces into balls and place 1-1/2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten slightly. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until pale brown. Sprinkle with more powdered sugar while still hot. Cool on wire racks. Makes 3 to 4 dozen.

Variation: For a chocolate-flavored cookie, add 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder to the dry ingredients.

Nutritional information unavailable.

Can you help?

Anyone who can come up with a recipe that answers one of these requests wins a cookbook:

>> Reuben Bermillo is looking for a recipe for a tofu-walnut bar.
>> Maryann Roylo wants to bake a Golden Cheese Cake, such as is sold at the 99 Ranch Market bakery -- not a traditional cheesecake, but more of a light, fluffy cake.
>> Finally, J. Hamlin hopes to learn to make arare, or mochi crunch at home.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
"By Request," Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
500 Ala Moana, No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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