All About Russian Tea Cakes

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Russian Tea Cakes by Kristina Madden Russian Tea Cakes were invented in Russia during the 18th century. They were used as confections in Russian tea ceremonies. They are very popular in other parts of the world, especially in weddings and during Christmas. They are called Mexican Wedding Cakes in Mexico. It is popular during Christmas in the United States, and is also known as Snowballs or Butterballs. Russian Tea Cakes are called Mantecados in Spain. Russia is not able to grow certain foods such as tree nuts and citrus due to the freezing climates of the north. The winters are long and cold. Globalization has given the people of Russia the ability to eat a balanced diet including eating protein and citrus fruits. The Sugarcane Industry was imported to Russia in the 1850’s. One of the most commonly grown crops in Russia is wheat, and over half of Russia’s grain production is in the form of wheat. Russia imports pecans (tree nuts) from the United States, Ukraine, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Russia has their own butter production, because they have herds of cows in Russia. Russia imported salt from Portugal. Vanilla beans were originated in Mexico, and vanilla extract was invented in 1847, and is imported from Madagascar, Indonesia, Mexico, and Tahiti. The ingredients include 1 cup of butter (margarine), ½ cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 ¼ cups all -purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¾ cup finely chopped pecans. The recipe: Cream butter in a large mixing bowl; gradually add ½ cup sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. Combine flour, salt, and pecans; gradually add to creamed mixture, blending well. Chill until firm. Shape dough into 1 inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 400 deg. F for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Roll in additional powdered sugar while warm. Cool

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