How to Make Russian Sugar Cookies

Updated on April 15, 2018
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Janisa loves eating and experimenting in the kitchen. She enjoys creating new recipes and homemade versions of popular store bought foods.

Russian sugar cookies, fresh from the oven and ready to be enjoyed!
Russian sugar cookies, fresh from the oven and ready to be enjoyed!

About Russian Sugar Cookies

I remember eating these often when I was little and I just recently found the recipe again in an old cookbook. The challenging aspect of reproducing soviet recipes in a North American setting is that there are way too many choices, whether it is oven settings or the required ingredients. Soviet recipes were relatively simple, only including the necessary ingredients and preparation methods. Oven temperatures were omitted since there was only one setting, which was "on" and readiness was determined not by the amount of time something has been in the oven for, but by appearance. Figuring out the exact ingredient proportions also took some guessing and experimenting since many Soviet products only came in one particular size. As a result, many recipes call for 1 packet of X or 1 jar of Y, and there are no other hints as to the required quantities.

After a couple of disastrous outcomes, I have finally gotten the cookies to taste just like they did when they came out of my grandma's oven. I really hope you enjoy these Russian sugar cookies and please don't get scared off by the unusual ingredients combination!

The Secret Ingredient

Mayonnaise!!!

But contrary to what you may be thinking, these cookies are not savory crackers or anything of the sort. In fact, you can't even taste the mayonnaise as you eat these and their texture is close to that of shortbread cookies.

What would you typically make with mayonnaise?

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Quick Facts

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30-35 minutes

Ready in: 45-50 minutes

Number of cookies: I didn't count them, but there was definitely more than 30. This number will vary, depending on the size of your cookies.

What You'll Need

1 cup (250g) mayonnaise

200 g butter: preferably unsalted, but any kind works

4 cups flour: whole wheat flour is healthier, but I find that using all-purpose white flour for this recipe makes the cookies taste better.

1 cup sugar: white sugar is best for this recipe. Brown sugar will make them too chewy and soft, and that is not a desirable characteristic for this type of cookie.

1 egg

a pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract: totally optional, but it gives the cookies that special scent

1tsp baking soda: also optional, but it is what causes the cookies to rise a bit more

Making the Dough

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Combine everything except for the flour in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Gradually add the flour and stir to blend all the ingredients. The dough may appear to be very dry if you add all the flour at once, so I suggest adding it a cup at a time and then mixing well.
  4. Use a spoon and your hands to thoroughly mix the dough; with some effort, you should be able to make a large ball out of it, without it falling apart.
  5. Test the dough by trying to roll small balls (around 2-3 tbsp in size), if they fall apart when you do this, your dough isn't ready yet. In this case, you have two options. You can either wait a bit; the butter will further soften, thus making the dough stickier and easier to work with. Or, you can keep mixing the dough until it is of the desired consistency.

Prepping the Dough

Test to see if the dough is of the required consistency by rolling some balls. If they dont crumble and fall apart, you are ready to continue on to the next steps.
Test to see if the dough is of the required consistency by rolling some balls. If they dont crumble and fall apart, you are ready to continue on to the next steps.

Ingredients for the Sugar Glaze

  • around one fourth of a cup of white sugar
  • 1 egg white

Tip: If your dough is still too dry and crumbly, add an extra egg yolk to it. This can very conveniently be the egg yolk you have left over after preparing the glaze ingredients

Glazing

  1. Grease a baking sheet with oil or butter.
  2. Place the egg white onto a shallow plate.
  3. Place the sugar onto a different shallow plate.
  4. Roll balls out of the dough. The size really depends on your preference, but I would say the 'normal' is around 1.5 tbsp of dough per ball. To speed up the process, you can roll all of the dough into balls, prior to dipping in the glaze
  5. Dip the top of each ball first into the egg white and then into the sugar.
  6. Place onto the baking sheet, leaving some space, around 3cm in between.
  7. Lightly press down on the cookies using two fingers or the back of a spoon. It is normal for slight cracks to appear.

The Glazing Procedure

First, roll all of the dough into balls. The size can vary, but I try to keep mine all of relatively the same size.
First, roll all of the dough into balls. The size can vary, but I try to keep mine all of relatively the same size.
Prepare the egg white and sugar. Dip first into the egg white and then into the sugar.
Prepare the egg white and sugar. Dip first into the egg white and then into the sugar.

Baking

  1. Bake for around 30-35 minutes. A sugary glaze will form on the top, and the bottoms will get slightly golden. The tops usually stay white, but if you over bake them, they will also get a bit golden.
  2. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. The cookies may seem raw since they'll be quite soft, but don't worry. They will harden as they cool.
  3. Transfer them to a large plate and let cool completely or enjoy them warm.

The cookies will rise and expand while baking, so it's good to leave some space between them.
The cookies will rise and expand while baking, so it's good to leave some space between them.

Made it? Let Others Know What You Thought!

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Cookie Time!

Yields around two plates full of cookies, not including the ones I sampled prior to taking this photo.
Yields around two plates full of cookies, not including the ones I sampled prior to taking this photo.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Janisa

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