su-Tout Sweet Russian Tea Cakes Image
Photo: Erin Kunkel; Styling: Kelly Allen
Prep and Bake Time 2 hrs 30 mins Chill Time 4 hrs Total Time 6 hrs 30 mins
AuthorYigit Pura

Welcome to Sunset Suppers, a series of cooking videos shot by chefs and food notables in the first weeks of self-quarantine. These days everyone’s living, working, and cooking differently. That includes us here at Sunset—where our homes have become our offices/studios/test kitchens—and it includes chefs. We asked our favorite chefs in the West and beyond to turn the camera on themselves and share their tips on how to cook easy, nourishing, and comforting food with the limitations of what people have on hand. Similarly we’d like to know what and how you’re cooking, so please share your hacks and home cook victories on social media and tag it #sunsetsuppers!

Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cakes, Viennese almond crescents–many countries have their own version of these melt-in-your-mouth butter-and-nut cookies. This one was created by Yigit Pura of Tout Sweet patisserie, in San Francisco and Palo Alto. We love it for its extreme crispness and toasty brown-butter flavor, and because it’s not too sweet; most of the sugar is on the outside.

How to Make It

Step 1
1

Preheat oven to 325°. Toast hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet until light golden brown and skins start to split, 8 to 10 minutes. Rub warm nuts in a kitchen towel to remove most of skins (it's okay if some stick). Let cool and chop coarsely.

Step 2
2

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer with beaters; cookies will be slightly crumblier), beat butter, granulated sugar, and salt on medium speed until evenly mixed and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.

Step 3
3

In a small bowl, whisk together vanilla-bean paste and cognac. Scrape into butter mixture and mix to incorporate.

Step 4
4

On low speed, gradually mix in flour, scraping bowl as needed. Add hazelnuts and mix 30 seconds more.

Step 5
5

Immediately scoop cookies into 1 1/2-tbsp. (25 g) portions and roll into balls. Chill, covered, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

Step 6
6

Preheat oven to 325° with racks in upper and lower thirds. Stack a baking sheet on a second sheet (to help cookies get evenly golden brown). Repeat with 2 more baking sheets. Line top sheet in each stack with parchment paper and set chilled cookie portions on parchment about 1 in. apart.

Step 7
7

Bake cookies 20 minutes. Switch positions of pans and rotate each 180°; then bake until medium golden brown, almost like biscotti, 25 to 30 minutes more. Slide parchment with cookies onto cooling racks and let cool completely.

Step 8
8

Put powdered sugar in a large, wide bowl, then roll cookies in powdered sugar. Repeat, lightly pressing sugar onto cookies to form a thick, fluffy coat.

Step 9
9

*Pura recommends weighing ingredients on a kitchen scale, since it's more precise. Find vanilla-bean paste at surlatable.com.

Step 10
10

Make ahead: Through step 5, up to 2 days, chilled airtight, or 2 months, frozen (thaw overnight in fridge before proceeding). Baked cookies, 2 to 3 days, airtight at room temperature, or up to 2 months, frozen.

Ingredients

 1 cup (140 g*) hazelnuts
 1 cup plus 6 tbsp. (310 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in. chunks, at cool room temperature
 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp. (90 g) granulated sugar
 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  Scant 1 tbsp. (10 g) vanilla-bean paste*
 1 tablespoon cognac or brandy
 3 cups plus 2 tbsp. (435 g) flour
  About 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar for rolling

Directions

Step 1
1

Preheat oven to 325°. Toast hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet until light golden brown and skins start to split, 8 to 10 minutes. Rub warm nuts in a kitchen towel to remove most of skins (it's okay if some stick). Let cool and chop coarsely.

Step 2
2

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer with beaters; cookies will be slightly crumblier), beat butter, granulated sugar, and salt on medium speed until evenly mixed and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.

Step 3
3

In a small bowl, whisk together vanilla-bean paste and cognac. Scrape into butter mixture and mix to incorporate.

Step 4
4

On low speed, gradually mix in flour, scraping bowl as needed. Add hazelnuts and mix 30 seconds more.

Step 5
5

Immediately scoop cookies into 1 1/2-tbsp. (25 g) portions and roll into balls. Chill, covered, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

Step 6
6

Preheat oven to 325° with racks in upper and lower thirds. Stack a baking sheet on a second sheet (to help cookies get evenly golden brown). Repeat with 2 more baking sheets. Line top sheet in each stack with parchment paper and set chilled cookie portions on parchment about 1 in. apart.

Step 7
7

Bake cookies 20 minutes. Switch positions of pans and rotate each 180°; then bake until medium golden brown, almost like biscotti, 25 to 30 minutes more. Slide parchment with cookies onto cooling racks and let cool completely.

Step 8
8

Put powdered sugar in a large, wide bowl, then roll cookies in powdered sugar. Repeat, lightly pressing sugar onto cookies to form a thick, fluffy coat.

Step 9
9

*Pura recommends weighing ingredients on a kitchen scale, since it's more precise. Find vanilla-bean paste at surlatable.com.

Step 10
10

Make ahead: Through step 5, up to 2 days, chilled airtight, or 2 months, frozen (thaw overnight in fridge before proceeding). Baked cookies, 2 to 3 days, airtight at room temperature, or up to 2 months, frozen.

Tout Sweet Russian Tea Cakes