swedish tea cakes
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Swedish Tea Cakes

These cookies keep beautifully when stored in an air-tight container—up to 2 weeks, easily. Perhaps that’s why they’re so popular come cookie platter season, aka Christmas.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 8
Author: Molly Watson


  • 1/2 cup pecan or walnut halves
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour


  • Preheat an oven to 350°F. Lay the nuts on a baking sheet and bake until toasted, about 10 minutes. Set a timer and watch them closely—nuts can go from toasted to burnt in the blink of an eye. Set the nuts aside to cool.
  • Once cool, put the nuts, 1 cup of the sugar, and the salt in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground.
  • Cut the butter into 1-tablespoon chunks and drop them in the food processor. Pulse to combine with the ground nuts. Drizzle in the vanilla and pulse a few times. Add the flour and pulse to combine to form a dough.
  • Roll the dough into 1-tablespoon balls and set them on an ungreased baking sheet (feel free to line the sheets with parchment paper for easy clean up).
  • Bake until just turning golden, about 15 minutes.
  • Put the remaining powdered sugar in a wide shallow bowl. Roll the cookies in the sugar to coat them and set them on a cooling rack. When the cookies are completely cool, roll them in the sugar for a second time for a brilliantly white snowy coat.


Handle the dough as little as possible to keep them tender.
Using pecans is more traditional and leads to a sweeter, more tender cookie. Walnuts, however, have a bit more oomph of flavor, and their flavor stands up a bit more to all the sugar. Either way, note that toasting the nuts isn’t necessary, but it does add a deeper, nuttier flavor to the final cookies.