A variety of cookies with powdered sugar on them.

Holiday Cookies: Butter Balls, Russian Tea Cakes, more – Anthony Salemme

Butter Balls, Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cookies, more

By Anthony Salemme

Many of our favorite Holiday Cookies all come from the same basic recipe – here you go!

Yield: 3 dozen

1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar plus more for rolling the cookies in
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup walnuts toasted and chopped finely (you can use pecans or hazelnuts)

In a large bowl, cream butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Sift in flour and salt; stir until well mixed. Mix in nuts. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 F

Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Roll the cookies while still warm in powdered sugar.

Chocolate Cherry Crack Cookies                                       Yield 5 dozen

Adding brandy soaked dried cherries to this recipe adds a whole other dimension to one of my favorite Christmas cookies.

1 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder

2 cups white sugar

½ cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 cup dried cherries, chopped, soaked in 2 ounces brandy

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Soak the cherries in the brandy for 4 hours or overnight.

In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the cherries, flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into one inch balls. Coat each ball in confectioners’ sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.


Anthony loves to cook and share recipes. You can follow him on Instagram at – @mealpvd and online at