Recipe 7 of the Christmas Cookies Around the World Holiday Project for Kids: Russian Tea Cakes Cookie Recipe
Baking cookies is a great way to gently introduce children to different cultures through a fun tour of cookies and Christmas traditions around the world. Russian Tea Cakes, also known as Snowball cookies, are a tender buttery cookie that is a popular Christmas favorite in Russia. The Christmas Cookies Around the World holiday project is an age appropriate way to emphasize togetherness while also learning about the traditions and popular recipes from other places around the world, and encourage togetherness through baking and kindness.
GET ALL 12 COOKIE RECIPES AND LEARNING ACTIVITIES WITH THE FULL CHRISTMAS COOKIES AROUND THE WORLD HOLIDAY PROJECT.
The Christmas Cookies Around the World series is a fun way to introduce children to:
- World geography
- Holiday traditions
- Popular cookies from various cultures and parts of the world
In the Christmas Around the World Project Pack we’ve included a printable version of each recipe so that you can create your very own Christmas Cookies Around the World Cookbook. There is even an editable page for you to include your own additional cookie recipes. Families at school can also submit their favorite Christmas cookie recipes to share in a class cookbook.
In addition to this packet, there is a full series of additional articles with tips and baking videos available here on the Christmas Cookies Around the World main page.
Brief History of Russian Tea Cakes
Russian Tea Cakes are one of the most popular cookie recipes that has migrated throughout the world. Other names for Russian Tea Cakes include: Mexican Wedding Cakes, Snowballs, Swedish Tea Cakes, Italian Butter Nut, Southern Pecan Butterball, Snowdrop, Viennese Sugar Ball, Sand Tarts.
They are almost always twice rolled in powdered sugar and contain some variation of chopped nuts.
The exact history of Russian Tea Cakes is unknown. It is generally believed that the soft, pillowy cookies are derived from Eastern European shortbread cookies.
Fun Facts About Russia’s Christmas Traditions
- Father Frost and his female companion, the Snow Maiden, are Russia’s answer to Santa Claus. In the gray days of the Soviet Union they brought some color and fun to families during the harsh Russian winter, and the pair are still popular today.
- The main way of celebrating Orthodox Christmas is just visiting (or inviting) relatives with symbolic gifts. In Russia, there are state holidays from January 1-8, and it’s customary to spend these days meeting loved ones.
- Orthodox Christians in Russia celebrate Christmas on January 7, because the Russian Orthodox Church, one of the largest autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches in the world, uses the Julian, rather than Gregorian calendar.
- The official way to say “Merry Christmas” in Russian is “S rozhdestvom Hristovym!”, which means “Congratulations on the birth of Christ!”.
- The official Christmas and New holidays in Russia last from December 31st to January 10th.
- To people in western Europe and the USA, one of the most famous things about Christmas in Russia is the story of Babushka. Babushka means Grand Mother in Russian. It tells the story of an old women who met the Wise men on their way to see Jesus.
- In some areas, children will go carol singing round the homes of friends and family and to wish people a happy new year. They are normally rewarded with cookies, sweets and money.
- Some people fast (don’t eat anything) on Christmas Eve, until the first star has appeared in the sky.
VIDEOS ABOUT CHRISTMAS IN RUSSIA
Learn all about how Russian Christmas is very different from Christmas in the western world.
“Walk” along the streets of Moscow and see what Christmas is really like in Russia.
BOOKS ABOUT CHRISTMAS IN RUSSIA
The Tale of Babushka by Elena Pasquali
The Tale of Babushka is a famous Christmas story in Russia, and a fun story your kids will love listening to.
This cute story about Russian nesting dolls is a great way to introduce your little ones to another culture.
Additional Resources for Teaching Children About Russia
Learn facts about Russia in this fun musical song.
There is so much to learn about the largest country, this video will help teach your kids a bunch of facts about Russia.
Find out what Russian kids eat in Russia with this fun video.
Books About Russia
If you were me and lived in… Russia by Carole P. Roman
Explore Russia and learn more about the culture there with this helpful book.
Living in . . . Russia by Jesse Burton
Discover what it’s like to grow up in Russia with this guided book.
History Of Russia For Kids by Baby Professor
Learn all about the history of Russia with this interactive book for kids.
This Is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe
This book will provide your kids with a window into other cultures to see what it’s like to live in another country.
Russian Tea Cakes Recipe
The simple recipe gives children many opportunities to take part in baking. They can mix ingredients, roll the dough, and coat the cookies in sugar. Watch this quick video for a glimpse at how easy they are to make.
Russian Tea Cakes
- 1 cup butter softened
- ½ cup powdered sugar plus 1 tbsp extra
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ cup finely chopped nuts pecans or walnuts
- Additional powdered sugar
- In a large bowl or your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the vanilla.
- Combine the flour and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture.
- Stir in the nuts.
- Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Roll into small 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake for 12-13 minutes.
- Roll in powdered sugar while still warm. Cool on wire racks.
Get Your FREE Christmas Cookies Around the World Taste Test Recording Sheet
Use the taste test recording sheet to have kids record information about the cookie(s) they tasted and rate how well they liked the cookies. Individual pages can be compiled into a taste test booklet for all the cookies you try in the series, or you can choose to have kids record only their favorite cookie if you prefer.
Save paper by printing two or four to a page if preferred.
Get the entire 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Around the World project
For those interested in expanding the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Around the World project into a class or family project we’ve created a 50+ page activity guide to make it super easy for you.
Inside you’ll find:
- Quick Reference List of Cookies and Countries
- Generic Cookie Taste Test Recording Sheet
- Cookie Taste Test Recording Table
- Class Graphing Header and Voting Cards
- Christmas Cookies Around the World Passport (three versions)
- Taste Test Journal
- Cookie Recipe Cookbook
- Editable Cookie Recipe Page to add in additional family and multi-cultural options
- Gift Tags
- My Family’s Favorite Cookie Recipe (two versions)
- Editable Parent Letter (two versions)
- Ingredient List by Cookie
The project is designed for use in the classroom, at home, or in community programs. Suggestions and modifications for each setting are included in the resource.
Get your Christmas Cookies Around the World Project
This project is also available on Teachers Pay Teachers.