This recipe has tempted me ever since I first encountered it on Barbara’s blog. If you read her post you’ll understand my sentiments and want to bake a batch too. So, a couple of Mondays ago I awakened at 5:30 am and went to the kitchen, hoping to have these cookies still warm from the oven for our lab meeting. As you shall see momentarily, the road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions.
Because I was a little tired and sleepy I carefully followed the recipe, and even arranged the measured ingredients on the counter top (the mis-en-place, mark of a serious cook). Nevertheless, unimpressed by my organizational skills, the ingredients refused to shape into a dough. No matter what I did, I only found revolving sandy crumbs forming in the KitchenAid mixer bowl. My husband woke up, came to the kitchen with a good morning kiss, but quickly decided to fetch the newspaper and read it with his coffee, far away from the kitchen (smart man that he is).
I returned to Barbara’s blog … had I forgotten something? – nope, everything was in order. So I gathered up portions of the sandy mess, formed them into “balls” and baked them, into what turned out to be unstable, unappetizing blobs. Frustrated, I rolled one into powdered sugar and tried it….Not fit for human consumption. Almost in tears, I began cleaning the kitchen, and while putting the almond flour away I noticed something printed on the bag: “brown rice flour“.
Some days a woman should not leave the comfort of her bed until way past 7 am, possibly around noon. But, I made them again, and… persistence paid off. Would you believe that the correct flour made them just as tasty as Barbara described?
RUSSIAN TEA CAKES
(adapted from Barbara’s blog, originally published in A Blithe Palate)
1 + 3/4 cups (6 oz) almond flour
2 cups all purpose flour
6 T sugar, divided (4 T + 2 T)
8 oz unsalted butter, softened
1 t vanilla
extract zest of 1/2 large lemon
1 t salt
Powdered sugar for dusting the cookies.
Heat the oven to 325 F.
Cream the butter and 4 T sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla until combined, then reduce speed and add the two kinds of flour, salt, lemon zest, and the remaining 2T of sugar. Scoop a spoonful of dough and roll it into a 1 inch ball. You should obtain about 36 cookies.
Place them on a lined baking sheet. Bake them until light brown, approximately 20 minutes. Do not overcook. Half way through baking time, switch the cookie sheets, rotating them to promote even baking. Remove from the oven and dust them liberally with powdered sugar. Cool on a rack. Eat 3 or 4 four cookies while no one is looking.
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