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Easy Italian Wedding Cookies

If you love the simplicity and taste of a great Mexican Wedding Cookie but you’re looking for something packed full of a rich almond flavor, this is the recipe for you! These tender, flaky Italian Wedding Cookies have a pie crust consistency but the flavor of an amazing almond shortbread.

Mexican Wedding Cookies. . .with a Twist

Russian Tea Cakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

I love a great tea cake (by any name: Russian Tea Cake, Snowball Cookies, Mexican Wedding Cookies, or Southern Pecan Butterballs).

Today I had a hankering for a batch of my favorites. I always add pecans to my recipe but today I happened to be out of them. (I know! A travesty!)

I happened to have a full cup of sliced almonds on hand, though. And plenty of almond extract. So, an idea occurred to me: why not turn these simple cookies into something extra-special: Italian Wedding Cookies. These would be perfect for any wedding, for sure!

I wasn’t sure how these would come together, but in the end they were delectable! Like. . .melt in your mouth good!

These are very much like a traditional Russian Tea Cake (or Mexican Wedding Cookie) but the almond extract and sliced almonds take it to a whole new level! They’re similar to traditional Italian Wedding Cookies but I left the almonds sliced, not chopped.

Boy, am I glad I gave these a try! I plan to make them again and again!

Italian Wedding Cookies Ingredients

So, what’s keeping you? No doubt you’re drooling by now. Let’s take a look at the ingredients you’ll need to make these yummy cookies.

You’ll find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need. I’m guessing you have most of these ingredients on hand.

  • room temperature butter (salted or unsalted butter, your choice)
  • powdered sugar
  • pure vanilla extract
  • almond extract
  • all purpose flour
  • sliced almonds (or chopped pecans), finely chopped
  • pinch salt (if you don’t use salted butter)
  • 1 additional cup powdered sugar for rolling cookies

How to Make these Delicious Italian Cookies

These are remarkably simple to make. The recipe prep time is super short!

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place parchment paper on two cookie sheets. (This recipe makes two dozen small cookies or 18 – 20 medium ones.)

Place your room temperature butter in a large bowl and mix well. You can use an electric mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment.

Russian Tea Cakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

Once butter is creamy, work in 1/2 cup powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extracts.

Add flour, half at a time. You will end up with a coarse texture, similar to a pie crust.

Russian Tea Cakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

Work in the sliced (finely chopped) almonds.

Russian Tea Cakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

Using a small cookie scoop, place balls of dough onto lined baking sheet. (You might have to use your hands to squeeze the loose dough together.) Feel free to form yours into a crescent shape if you like. I was in a hurry and left mine in circles.

Russian Tea Cakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place in preheated oven and bake for 11-12 minutes or until set.

Russian Tea Cakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.

When you can handle the warm cookies roll them in confectioners sugar. Wait a couple of minutes and roll them a second time. Leave on cookie sheet to cool completely.

Russian Tea Cakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

Store leftover cookies in an airtight container. They will stay fresh 2 – 3 days.

You can freeze the dough balls in a ziplock bag for up to two months. Allow to defrost before baking. (I always recommend baking pre-frozen dough balls low and slow at 350 degrees instead of 375.)

What to Expect from These Cookies

Russian Tea Cakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

I’m a big fan of Mexican Wedding Cookies so I knew I would love these. I’m particularly addicted to almond flavoring. I use it in my wedding cakes and many of my other baking projects, as well.

I absolutely loved the almond in these cookies. The interior of the cookie has a lovely pie crust-like texture and the sliced almonds add just the right amount of crunch.

Russian Tea Cakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

That lovely powdered sugar exterior is perfect. It’s pure sweetness but because it’s added when the cookies are warm, it adheres to the outside and becomes one with the cookie.

Questions People are Asking about Italian Wedding Cookies:

Can I use ground almonds in place of flour?

You can use finely ground almonds in place of flour but the texture will be considerably different.

Does it matter if I use salted butter in this recipe?

I used salted butter and eliminated the dash of salt in the recipe.

How is this cookie different from a Mexican Wedding Cookie?

Mexican wedding cookies have no almond extract and don’t use chopped almonds. Many Mexican Wedding cookie recipes incorporate chopped pecans and/or mini chocolate chips.

What is the history of wedding cookies?

According to National Post.com:

It’s a tradition that’s said to originate in Southwestern Pennsylvania by Eastern European, Italian and Greek immigrants, who wanted to bring a taste of the homeland to the New World. Today tradition still trumps convenience, as wedding cookies are mostly homemade by family and friends.

Variations on this Recipe

Russian Tea Cakes from Out of the Box Baking.com

The obvious choice would be the traditional Mexican Wedding Cookies, of course. It’s a great stand-alone, for sure.

  • Dehydrated cherries. Dice into fine pieces and add along with the sliced almonds.
  • Another great option is a chocolate chip version. Leave out the nuts and add mini chocolate chips. I would probably add about 2/3 of a cup to this recipe.
  • Walnuts and maple. I can’t wait to make this version. I’ll leave out the almond flavoring and sliced almonds, substituting finely chopped walnuts and maple extract. (Yum!)
  • Lemon. Add lemon extract in place of almond for a citrusy-twist.
  • You can make snowball cookies without nuts. Some people prefer them this way. A traditional snowball wouldn’t include the almond extract, either.

Other Almond-Infused Favorites from Out of the Box Baking:

I love this almond wedding cookies recipe. I’ve got a lot of other recipes that incorporate this luscious flavor. Here are a few that I love:

Easy Cherry Almond Bars: If you love the flavor of a traditional cherry pie but prefer the simplicity of a cookie bar, then this is the recipe for you! This luscious sweet treat has a shortbread base, cherry preserves in the center, and sliced almonds on top. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to bake!

Almond Tea Cakes: These tea cakes are rich in almond flavor with the crunch of slivered almonds on top. They’re so easy to make because they start with a simple white cake mix. They’re perfect for an afternoon tea party or any time of day!

Sour Cherry Thumbprint Cookies: This is a fun twist on a traditional Thumbprint cookie that uses cherry preserves (or sour cherry spread) in the center of a delicious almond-infused shortbread cookie.


That’s it for this recipe, friends. I hope you love this almond-infused twist on traditional Italian Wedding Cookie!

Russian Tea Cakes (with Almond)

Russian Tea Cakes (with Almond)

Yield: 24
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

If you love the simplicity and taste of a great Mexican Wedding Cookie but you're looking for something packed full of a rich almond flavor, this is the recipe for you! These tender, flaky cookies have a pie crust consistency but the flavor of an amazing almond shortbread.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup room temperature butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sliced (finely chopped) almonds
  • pinch salt (if you don't use salted butter)
  • 1 additional cup powdered sugar for rolling cookies

Instructions

    How to Make these Delicious Almond Cookies
    These are remarkably simple to make.
    Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Place parchment paper on two cookie sheets. (This recipe makes two dozen small cookies or 18 - 20 medium ones.)
    Place your room temperature butter in a large bowl and mix well. You can use an electric mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment.
    Once butter is creamy, work in 1/2 cup powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extracts.
    Add flour, half at a time. You will end up with a coarse texture, similar to a pie crust.
    Work in the sliced almonds.
    Using a small cookie scoop place balls of dough onto lined baking sheet. (You might have to use your hands to squeeze the loose dough together.)
    Place in preheated oven and bake for 11-12 minutes or until set.
    Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
    When you can handle the warm cookies roll them in powdered sugar.
    Wait a couple of minutes and roll them a second time.
    Leave on cookie sheet to cool completely.
    Store leftover cookies in an airtight container. They will stay fresh 2 - 3 days.
    You can freeze the dough balls in a ziplock bag for up to two months. Allow to defrost before baking. (I always recommend baking pre-frozen dough balls low and slow at 350 degrees F instead of 375.)

Poppy Seed Cake with Orange Glaze - Out of the Box Baking

Saturday 27th of August 2022

[…] Easy Italian Wedding Cookies: If you love the simplicity and taste of a great Mexican Wedding Cookie but you’re looking for something packed full of a rich almond flavor, this is the recipe for you! These tender, flaky Italian Wedding Cookies have a pie crust consistency but the flavor of an amazing almond shortbread. […]

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