Sugar-Free Recipe: Russian Tea Cookies

23 Nov

These little shortbread cookies are nice with a big mug of herbal tea.

Grace’s sister here, getting into the spirit of Thanksgiving by appreciating one of my favorite blessings: my awesome boss, who goes along with most of my crazy ideas and laughs at all my irreverent jokes.

My boss loves cookies, but he happens to be a Type I diabetic, so he can’t just pork down half a package of sugar wafers when he’s having a rotten day. (I have no idea how he maintains his sanity without the assistance of pink sugar wafers. I think he might be magic.)

Aaaaaaaanyway, my all-time favorite cookies are those little round shortbread cookies that are made with chopped nuts and rolled in powdered sugar. At the late, great Cristaudo’s Bakery in Carbondale, Ill., they were referred to as “Russian tea cookies.” Here in Oklahoma, people call them “Mexican wedding cakes,” and I’ve also heard them referred to as “snowball cookies.”

Whatever you call them, they rock, and when I found a recipe for them that called for a relatively small amount of sugar, I decided they’d make a perfect candidate for reduced-carb experimentation.

Mmmm ... cookie dough!

Start by putting about a cup and a half of Splenda in your food processor or blender and pulsing it until it’s close to the texture of confectioner’s sugar. Mix a half-cup of the pulverized Splenda with a cup and a half of whole-wheat flour, a half-cup of white flour, and two sticks of softened butter. Add a teaspoon or two of vanilla and mix with a fork or a pastry blender until you have a crumbly dough.

Add a cup or so of finely ground nuts (I used black walnuts because that’s what I had on hand, but pecans and English walnuts also work well) and knead lightly until the dough holds together. Feel free to eat some of the dough while you work. It’s perfectly safe, as there are no eggs in it. Form into one-inch balls and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Ready to serve.

Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Roll them in the remaining Splenda as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Let cool completely and store in a sealed container.

♥ Chef’s note: If you aren’t cooking for a diabetic, you can substitute powdered sugar for all of the Splenda in the recipe. You can also adjust the amounts of white and whole-wheat flour if you like; this variation uses more whole-wheat flour and an extra quarter-cup or so of nuts to increase the fiber content and balance out some of the carbs.

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3 Responses to “Sugar-Free Recipe: Russian Tea Cookies”

  1. mtnester November 23, 2010 at 2:46 PM #

    Actually, I believe Cristaudo’s is being resurrected. I saw something about it within the last week. I think it’s going in on the Strip somewhere.

  2. mtnester November 23, 2010 at 3:01 PM #

    Someone on facebook said it was going in where Kaleidoscope was on South Illinois.

  3. Gracie November 24, 2010 at 9:41 AM #

    Cristaudo’s…mmmmmm….aggghghgh….(Homer Simpson drool sound effects)…

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