Citrus Tea Cakes- Guest Post

Hello! I’m Lorinda from The Rowdy Baker, and while Nettie is away I’m helping out by writing a guest post on her blog
With the winter months finally behind us, I’m putting away the pumpkin, caramel, and (reluctantly) maple to usher in the warm, fragrant days of Spring with a bright citrus cookie recipe.
teacakes super close
I’m sure we’ve all made (or at least eaten) tea cakes; they’re a popular cookie on holiday platters. Whether you call them “Snowballs”, “Russian Tea Cakes”, or “Mexican Wedding Cakes”, you’ve almost certainly popped one of these in your mouth and enjoyed the buttery, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

teacakes vertical half basket

Egg shaped tea cakes in a basket.

I took my old recipe and jazzed it up with lemon and key limes and then made colored powdered sugar to roll them in. Pastel shades for spring, of course! I colored the sugar yellow and green, but imagine how pretty a variety of pastel colored cookies would look in a basket on your Easter brunch table.

To make colored powdered sugar:
Put 1 cup of granulated sugar in each of 2 small bowls. Stir a few drops of yellow food coloring into 1/2 teaspoon water and drizzle half of it into one bowl of sugar. Stir really well to combine the coloring and sugar, adding the remaining colored water drop by drop if necessary. The goal is to get the color and sugar fairly well mixed without saturating the sugar. Discard any leftover colored water. Repeat with the green color in the other bowl of sugar.

Spread the sugar on two paper plates or paper towels and let it dry for 1 hour. When dry, blend one color at a time in a blender, along with 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Blend for about a minute, stopping to shake the blender jar often. I turned mine over (with the lid snugly on) a couple of times and took off the bottom to remove sugar that was clogged up there. If you have a powerful blender, your powdered sugar will come out fluffy and powdery. I obviously need a new blender, because mine was just a tiny bit sandy feeling, but it still worked perfectly on the cookies.

Colored granulated sugar, ready to be blended.

Colored granulated sugar, ready to be blended.


1 cup butter
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, lightly packed
2 teaspoons grated lime zest (I used Key limes)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
Powdered sugar (plain or colored) to roll the cookies in

Heat oven to 300 F.

  1. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, lemon juice, vanilla, and powdered sugar until combined.
  2. Mix in the lemon and lime zest.
  3. Add the flour and mix just until it is incorporated.
  4. Stir in the walnuts.
  5. Roll level tablespoons of dough into balls (or egg shapes) and place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  6. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are light golden brown.
  7. Set the pan on a cooling rack and as soon as the cookies are cool enough to handle, roll them in powdered sugar and set on racks to cool completely. Once cool, roll them in the powdered sugar again. The first coating will be a little sticky, so the cookies will pick up more sugar this time and the coating will look nice and even.

Store in an airtight container.

Grating lemons and limes.

Grating lemons and limes.

Balls and eggs, ready to bake.

Balls and eggs, ready to bake.

Rolling warm cookies in colored powdered sugar.

Rolling warm cookies in colored powdered sugar.

Round tea cakes in a bowl.

Round tea cakes in a bowl.

These little gems are perfect for a tea, a club meeting, or just for you to nibble on while you’re sitting down to a relaxing cup of coffee or tea. Happy Spring!
teacakes and coffee
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Lorinda McKinnon
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3 thoughts on “Citrus Tea Cakes- Guest Post

  1. Hi I am a “Nettie friend from Maine & Florida–my frinds in Florida will love this (some of them have small citrus groves) Great idea for Spring Happy Day Zoe


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