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These are a favorite of my husband and even although they are more of a holiday cookie, or at least that is when most people make them, we make these year round, because Ian loves these cookies so much! I hope you will try them one day as I am sure they are almost as good as the original, even although a bit different, due to being low-carb.

The shortbread-like dough is studded with chopped pecans and chocolate chips.  I added orange zest for a different flavor profile that is irresistible!  Bite into a cookie for a burst of delicious flavor and texture.  

I have not made these with the Keto Bake Mix, but since they are interchangeable bake mixes, you may use it, except that the Keto Bake Mix requires a little more, as it is not quite as robust as the Gluten-Free Bake Mix 2, which is the one I use primarily for baking these days.  

While warm the cookies are rolled in a powdered sweetener of choice and then again when they have cooled down.  Remember when it comes to sweeteners, you can almost always use your own preferred sweetener in my recipes.   I use liquid sweetener as it has no calories or carbs and it is a matter of counting drops.  My cookbooks have useful tables of how many drops to use from 1 tsp to 1 cup of sugar sweetness.  I often refer to them myself.

People often call these cookies by different names.  You may have heard them called Pecan Balls, Snowball Cookies, Wedding Cookies, Mexican Wedding Cookies, etc.  I call them Russian Tea Cakes My Way, as they are different to any other cookies along these lines that you will find out there; however, they are still unmistakably that special cookie we all love around the holidays.  Watch, though, you may get requests to make these cookies year round.

These cookies hold their same shape while baking as there is no egg or leavening in them. For that reason I like to form larger balls, using 2 tablespoonsful of dough or a cookie scoop in that measurement for each cookie.

If you don't like chocolate in your Russian tea cakes, you could leave the chocolate chips out and use 3/4 cup to 1 cup pecans, chopped in this recipe.

  Some people like to use unsalted butter in these cookies, but I use a very mild-tasting butter that is not very salty-tasting at all.  There is a lot of butter in these cookies and that will have an effect on the taste of these cookies.  If you have a salty-tasting butter, then replace 1 stick with unsalted butter and the other 1/2 stick can be salted butter, if you like, or you can use all unsalted butter, if you prefer. If you use all unsalted butter, you will need to add about 1/8th teaspoon salt to the dry ingredients.  If one was using sugar in these cookies I would have said use 1/4 teaspoon, but salt always cuts the sweetness of a cookie when one is using sweeteners versus sugar.

If you like, you can change up the nuts in these cookies to nuts that you have on hand or prefer, such as walnuts.

I used a teaspoon of vanilla, but you could use a titch more, if you like.  I love the vanilla flavor in these cookies.  Russian tea cake recipes are a little flexible in that way.   These are often considered Christmas cookies, but as I mentioned before we make these year round, as they are just too good.  

The suggestion is to make 1-inch balls normally, but I use a 2tbspful measure for each of the balls, so that my cookies are larger, as they don't rise without any leavening, nor do they spread.  Russian tea cookies are my husband's top favorite cookie these days.  



21/4 cups Gluten-Free Bake Mix 2, (560 mL)

  OR Keto Bake Mix (Use 1/cup more)

1/2 cup pecan halves (125 mL)

3/4 cup butter, softened   (11/sticks butter) (175 mL)

Liquid sweetener to equal 1 cup sugar (250 mL)

1 tbsp honey substitute {up to 2 tbsp (30 mL)} (15 mL)  

1 tsp vanilla extract (5 mL)

1/2 cup sugar-free chocolate chips (125 mL)

1 tbsp orange zest (15 mL)

Powdered Sweetener of choice


Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). 


Measure out the amount of Gluten-Free Bake Mix 2, OR Keto Bake Mix and set aside.


Place pecans on a baking sheet.  Bake 2 minutes in the preheated oven.  Allow to cool and chop the pecans.


In stand mixer with whisk attachment, mix butter, liquid sweetener, honey substitute and vanilla extract.  Switch to paddle attachment (remember if you don’t have a stand mixer, you can still mix this in a bowl with mixer or in a food processor).  Add Gluten-Free Bake Mix 2; mix.  Stir in chopped pecans, chocolate chips and orange zest.


Using a 2-tbsp (30 mL) ice cream scoop or measuring spoon, form balls, placing them on a clean baking sheet or on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Form 20 balls.  Bake 8 minutes or until light brown underneath with a few light golden spots on top.  Watch carefully as they can burn fast.


While warm roll in powdered sweetener of choice and once again when the Russian tea cakes are cool.  Store in the refrigerator.  I like to simply place them on a dinner plate in the fridge.

Yield:  20 tea cakes

1 tea cake

156.7 calories

2.5 g protein

13.9 g fat

0.2 g fiber

3.2 g net carbs


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