Tuesday, December 23, 2008


My baking this Christmas season is not going well. The first batch of cookies came out nicely for the kids teachers. The second round of cooking did not fair as well. The cookies above are the only ones that turned out. Each year I also make toffee to put in our goodie baskets to our family and friends. I made two different batches of toffee this year and each one did not turn out. After about 30 minutes of stirring, the toffee broke. The oil separated from the sugar mixture and turned into a clump of yuck. I couldn't believe it! So today I tried again and the same thing happened. I have made this recipe for years and it turns out wonderful each time. I am stumped! The cookies above are some old favorites. The cookies on the left are Russian Tea Cakes made with pecans. The ones on the right are Pine nut Cookies from Martha Stewart.

Russian Tea Cakes (from Stars Desserts by Emily Luchetti)

6 ounces pecans, toasted
6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
8 ounces (2 sticks) soft sweet butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Put the pecans and 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Finely grind the pecans and set them aside.

Put the butter and the remaining 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract. Combine the flour and salt and stir into the butter mixture. Add the reserved nuts.

Form the dough into 3/4 inch balls. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the cookies on the pan 2 inches apart.

Bake the tea cakes for about 20 minutes, until light brown. While they are still warm, sprinkle them with powdered sugar.

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