Classic Russian Tea Cakes get a simple makeover with gluten-free flour and vegan butter to make them a perfect cookie for your gluten and dairy-free Christmas cookie collection.
As is typically the case, my posts are hardly ever early. Or even timely for the appropriate season. Either too early, or way far too late, but nonetheless, they speak to my sudden urge to make Russian Tea Cakes. I wake up one day, and as soon as my feet touch the cold, wooden floor, I suddenly realize, I need to have them. Immediately.
As is the case for 100% of the cookies and sweets I grew up with though, they are not gluten-free. So I impulsively set out to make them so. The first batch was exceptionally complicated with far too many combinations of gluten-free flours (5 to be exact - generic gluten-free flour, sorghum, coconut, almond, and tapioca flours), just in hopes that I would achieve the right texture. But frankly, that's not practical for me and most certainly not for you! I realized there is probably a much easier way. And there is - in the form of Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free flour (no affiliation).
I find this one to be the closest to the real thing as it lends itself nicely to baking. But don't worry, if you can't find Bob's, any 1:1 gluten-free flour will do with a few little tricks. So let's get to the recipe.
6 Ingredient Gluten-Free Russian Tea Cakes
- Very easy to make
- Gluten-free, vegan
- Perfect for your gluten-free holidays
- Require only 6 ingredients (5 if you cut out cardamom)
Ingredients At a Glance
- Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Flour
- Vegan Butter (I used Earth Balance Soy Free)
- Raw Walnuts
- Powdered Sugar
- Cardamom (optional)
- Vanilla Extract
- Large baking sheet (or 2 medium)
- Parchment paper or silicone baking mat
Let's Make Them
Step 1. Chop walnuts into bite-size pieces.
Step 2. In a large bowl, combine vegan butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, cardamom (if used) and mix well.
Step 3. Add flour and mix mixture until fully incorporated. Fold in walnuts.
Step 4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and refrigerate the mixture for 15 minutes or longer, while the oven preheats.
Step 5. Roll dough into 1-inch pieces and place on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 13 minutes on the middle rack.
Step 6. Remove cookies from the oven, let them sit for 2 minutes then sprinkle them with powdered sugar. Let cookies cool completely and sprinkle with additional sugar if you'd like.
Step 7. Once completely cooled, cookies can be stored at room temperature for 1-2 weeks.
Tips + FAQs
Why The Type of Flour Matters
The reality is that gluten-free flour requires many different components in order to achieve something close to the original. This is often why gluten-free baking can be tricky. But thanks to some brilliant minds, the perfect ratio of ingredients can be found on nearly every store shelf. I personally find that Bob's 1:1 Gluten-free Flour works best in this particular recipe, especially because no eggs are used as binding agents as in typical cookies. I don't have any affiliation with them, but just find their product to be particularly good.
What If You Can't Find The Recommended Flour
If you can't find the flour online or in your local store, make sure you use gluten-free 1:1 flour that contains xanthan gum. Additionally, the ratio of butter to flour may be slightly different. You may want to start with 14 tablespoon vegan butter and 2 cups of flour. If you find the dough to be too wet, add a little more flour. Work with 1 tablespoon at a time.
What Is the Best Vegan Butter For The Recipe?
There are a lot of different kinds of vegan butter on the market. While some are excellent for cookies, cakes, muffins, etc, I think Earth Balance is the closest in texture to butter. I used the soy-free kind but whatever works for you, is good. If you're only gluten-free and not dairy-free or vegan, feel free to use real butter in the same quantity.
Why Chilling Your Dough Is Important
One step you don't want to skip is letting the dough sit in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will allow all ingredients to combine and the dough will be much easier to roll into balls.
Can You Make The Dough In Advance?
Most definitely. If you're looking to prepare the dough in advance, just cover it with wrap and place it in the refrigerator until you're ready to roll.
What Should The Dough Consistency Be Like?
The best way to describe it would be crumbly to the touch but if you were to pinch it, it would stick together, allowing you to easily roll the dough into balls.
Do You Need To Use Cardamom?
You don't - I do because I like it in everything that's baked. But feel free to skip it if you don't like it or don't have it.
How To Store Russian Tea Cakes?
The cookies are best stored at room temperature in an air-tight container. They will keep for 1-2 weeks.
Sprinkle The Sugar Don't Roll
I find sprinkling the cookies with sugar to be a better option rather than rolling.
- Be sure to bake the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake cookies on the middle rack.
- Use quality powdered sugar.
More Cookie Recipes You Might Like
- Almond Flour Cardamom Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies
- Flourless Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
- No-Bake 5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Sesame Balls
- No-Bake Almond Butter Bars with Salted Chocolate
- Coconut Cashew Matcha Energy Bites (Paleo)
- 2 cups 1:1 gluten-free flour
- 1 cup vegan butter at room temperature
- 1 cup chopped raw walnuts
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup powdered sugar
1. Chop walnuts into bite-size pieces.
2. In a large bowl, combine vegan butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, and cardamom (if used) and mix well.
3. Add flour and mix the mixture until fully incorporated. Fold in walnuts.
4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and refrigerate the mixture for 15 minutes, while the oven preheats.
5. Roll dough into 1-inch pieces and place on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 13 minutes.
6. Remove cookies from the oven, let them sit for 2 minutes then sprinkle them with powdered sugar. Let cookies cool completely and sprinkle with additional sugar if you’d like.
1. Cookies can be stored for 1-2 weeks in an air-tight container
2. Be sure to chill your dough prior to rolling out the cookies. This is a really important step that should not be skipped.
3. If possible, try using Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-free flour, as that works best in this recipe.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 96Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 41mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g