On the second day of Christmas Cookies I am happy to present you with one of my family favorites, Russian Teacakes or as they are sometimes called, Pecan Sandies. These little powdered sugar covered shortbread cookies have always been one of the highlights of my family’s holiday festivities.
These crumbly cookies with their not too sweet pecan centers, and layer of buttery white sugar, left many little fingers and faces dusted with the powdery remnants of their treat, their little smiles made even sweeter by the sugary coating. Santa always had a couple of these little round cookies on his Christmas Eve cookie plate as well, complete with a moist paper towel for convenient clean up.
My first couple of attempts at making this shortbread cookie just didn’t quite work. Using a multipurpose gluten free flour left the cookies with a gummy feel, and the desperate need for liquid to drink. This was not a good start. I finally figured out that to get the right ‘crumb’ and feel for the shortbread, I needed to use a combination of Brown Rice Flour and Coconut Flour, with just a pinch of xanthan gum to hold everything together. This combination gives the cookie the proper ‘mouth feel’ and crumblyness. These are every bit as good as the ones made with regular wheat flour.
- 1 Cup of REAL Butter (I prefer salted, but unsalted can be used), softened to room temperature
- 1/2 Cup Sifted Powdered Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Gluten Free Real Vanilla Extract
- 1 3/4 Cups Brown Rice Flour
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 3/4 Cup Finely Ground or finely Chopped Pecans (or other nuts of your choice)
- Powdered Sugar for rolling the cookies – Sifted
Heat the oven to 400. Mix the butter and the 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and stir in the vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly. Stir in 1 cup of the Brown Rice Flour, the salt, and the Xanthan gum. Mix thoroughly.
Stir in the rest of the Brown Rice flour and the Coconut Flour, mixing until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Stir in nuts.
Roll into 1 inch balls, and place about an inch apart on a parchment lined, or ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until set and just starting to brown, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Leave on cookie sheet at least 10 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
Roll cooled cookies in sifted powdered sugar, and place on a cooling rack until completely cold. Roll in powdered sugar again if desired.
Makes: Approximately 24 Cookies
I first tasted these cookies when I was eight years old, visiting my aunt. From that moment on, they became one of my all time favorites. I hope they become one of yours as well.
You can vary the type of nuts in the cookie, or leave them out altogether. Although I have never tried putting mini chocolate chips in these cookies, it might be worth a try. Take this recipe and experiment a little. Make my recipe uniquely yours, and let me know how it turns out. I would love to hear from you!