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.
- 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.