{Russian Teacakes}

Ingredients:

1 cup butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar (plus extra for dusting!)

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/4 cup self-rising flour

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup crushed pecans

-First, you're going to need to grind up your nuts into a meal-like consistency.  I purchase my pecans in already smashed up bits, because it's cheaper this way.  But even those aren't smashed up enough.  I still have to throw them in my Magic Bullet, and grind 'em up some more!  So, feel free to use whatever kind of pecans you have on hand, whole, halves, or pieces, because you're going to grind them up really fine.

-Important note here, you will measure the 3/4 cup AFTER you grind the nuts, not before!  I use the Magic Bullet for this task, because one of the small cups full of pecan pieces yields just the right amount of ground up nuts for this recipe.

-Place your nuts in your Magic Bullet, or Food Processor, or Chopper of any kind.

-Pulse your nuts until they reach a meal-like, almost pasty consistency.

-Place all ingredients into your mixing bowl.

-Mix until you've got a thick dough.  At first, it will be very powdery, and you'll be convinced it's not going to come together.  But, just as you begin to curse me for getting you into this mess, it will happen beautifully.

-Now, you're supposed to chill the dough for 1 hr.  This makes the dough easier to handle for rolling, but I'm almost NEVER patient enough for this step.  Sometimes, I stick it in the freezer for 15 minutes, other times, I throw it in the fridge for anywhere from 10-60 minutes, and other times still, I roll it out immediately, as is.

-After letting the dough chill (or skipping this step if you were born with a missing patience gene, like I was!) you need to preheat your oven to 400*.

-Now, start rolling out your dough into 1/2” balls.

-Don't break out the measuring tape or anything, the actual size of the balls is not nearly as important as making sure that all of them are the SAME size.  

-Place your balls on a large cookie sheet.  These cookies don't really rise very much, so you can really cram 'em in there!  

-Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just set.  You don't want them to get too dark on the bottom.

-While your cookies bake, get your dusting sugar ready.  Place powdered sugar in a bowl large enough to roll cookies in.  Just to be festive, I usually take my powdered sugar, and add a whole mess of red and green sugar to the bowl.  

-I just stir it around with my hands, and then the cookies have a subtle hint of the season when all is said and done!

-You're going to roll the cookies in the powdered sugar twice.

-You roll them the first time when they are about 3 minutes out of the oven.  You want them to still be hot, but have a couple of minutes to set.  It's important to note that during this first rolling, the cookies will be Very Delicate.   You must roll them VERY carefully, or they will break.  If one does break, just pop it in your mouth, and no one will be the wiser (except maybe your hips!).

-After the first rolling, you will see that the cookies are still poking through the sugar.  So, you're going to let them sit about 5 more minutes, and then roll 'em again baby!  This time, the sugar will stick even more, and they'll get that beautiful bright white color you're looking for!

-Now, you can either place them in the absolutely cutest cookie jar you can find....

-Or you can put them on the ugliest paper plate you can find, and give them away, so that you don't eat them all!