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Granny’s Surprise Cookies

Granny’s Surprise Cookies are the cookie we all look forward to most during the Christmas season! She takes traditional Russian Tea Cakes and adds a chocolate Hershey Kiss to the middle of each one. It’s absolutely divine!

Russian tea cakes with Hershey kiss in the middle

Russian Tea Cakes with a Hershey’s Kiss

At Christmas time, this is the cookie I look forward to the most. My mom has always called them “Surprise Cookies.”

This year, I asked her for the recipe so I could share it on the blog. When she sent me a picture of the recipe card, she had called them, Russian Tea Cakes with a Hershey’s Kiss. On that phone call she told me that she got the teacake recipe from my grandmother.

I actually found the dough recipe in my grandmother’s recipe box. She called them Pecan Puffs. My grandmother, who I called Grandmother, probably wrote this card at least 60 years ago! This is definitely an old family favorite.

I truly love, finding the source of our family recipes. They have been made with family and love in mind for many years!

But back to my mom’s story that she made this recipe up…

I didn’t find anything like this one.

I looked around online and saw a few recipes for cookies with a Hershey’s Kiss in the middle, but nothing like this one. Some people call this type of cookie, Pecan Snowballs.

Whether you call it pecan snowball or a Russian teacake, it’s pretty much the same recipe of powdered sugar, flour, chopped pecans, vanilla, and butter.

While Russian Tea Cakes cookies are yummy—they are absolutely amazing with a Hershey’s Kiss wrapped up in the middle. The dough is filled with pecans and is a perfect complement to chocolate! My mom has always used regular milk chocolate, but I tried dark chocolate for this batch, and it tasted great.

For some reason, I always thought that this was a hard cookie to make—it’s not! It’s so easy and quick. There’s nothing to it.

This is a traditional Christmas cookie in our family. My mom makes them every year and they are my absolute favorite cookie!

What is a Russian Tea Cake?

Despite the name, Russian Tea Cakes are actually a type of cookie. They’re often called pecan snowballs because they are round and dusted with powdered sugar, like snow.

Taste-wise, they are similar to a shortbread cookie, and are rich, buttery, and crumbly. In addition to a bit of crunch from the chopped pecans, Granny add a healthy dose of chocolate, which takes them to the next level!

Note from Sara: These cookies crumble and sugar tends to fall off. I always need a napkin in hand with these cookies. The taste is totally worth a few crumbs and powdered sugar.

Russian tea cakes with Hershey kiss in the middle

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Russian Tea Cake Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 3/4 cup pecans chopped fine
  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar (plus more for rolling cookies)
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients until it forms a smooth dough that holds together. Make sure to have an additional 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar to roll the cookies in once they are baked.

Kitchen Supplies Used

How to Make the Surprise Cookies

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat.

To make each cookie, wrap approximately 1 Tablespoon of dough around a Hershey Kiss.

placing Hershey Kiss in cookie dough forming cookie dough into ball

Place each ball of dough on your prepared cookie sheet. These cookies don’t spread out, so you can put them fairly close together.

making Russian Tea Cakes on baking sheet

Bake at 350 degrees for about 14 to 17 minutes, removing from the oven before they start to brown. You don’t want to over bake them.

When cookies have cooled but are still warm, roll them in confection’s sugar. Then when they are totally cooled, roll them a second time.

Can you use any other nut besides pecans?

I have seen recipes that called for walnuts. I have not tried that but if you love walnuts, I’m sure they would work fine.

How fine do you chop the pecans?

I used the food processor for mine and chopped them fine as my mother instructed me to. I didn’t quite pulverize them to a powder, as I like to see bits of pecan in the cookie.

How to Store Russian Tea Cakes

The best way to keep them is in an airtight container. As Granny says, “These keep really well and just get better.” They’ll last for a week on the counter.

You can also keep them much longer in the freezer, which is what Granny does.

Russian Tea Cakes on plate with chocolate in the middle

Related: Check out these Grinch Snowball Cookies, a fun spin on the traditional recipe!

More of our favorite cookie recipes:

Russian Tea Cake Recipe (Printable Copy)

If you liked this recipe, please rate it! We’d love to hear what you thought!


Russian Tea Cakes with Hershey' Kiss

Granny's Surprise Cookies are the cookie we all look forward to most during the Christmas season! She takes traditional Russian Tea Cakes and adds a chocolate Hershey Kiss to the middle of each one. It's absolutely divine!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Russian
Keyword Christmas, cookies, desserts
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 19 minutes
Total Time 49 minutes
Servings 24
Calories 53kcal
Author Sara Garska
Cost $6


  • mixing bowl
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Cooling rack


  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar plus 1/2 cup for rolling cookies in after baking
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Hershey's Kisses Dark or Milk Chocolate


  • Mix all ingredients until a smooth dough forms. It should be easy to handle and not too sticky.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Wrap approximately 1 TB of dough around a Hershey Kiss and place on cookie sheet.
    placing Hershey Kiss in cookie dough
  • Repeat with each cookie. These cookies don’t spread out, so you can put them fairly close together.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 14 to 17 minutes. Do not over-bake; you don’t want the cookies to brown.
  • When cookies have cooled some, but are still warm, dip them in confection’s sugar. Then when they are completely cool, dip them again.
  • Store in an airtight container.


Calories: 53kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 39mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 17IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

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Russian tea cakes cookie with chocolate center

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  1. Martha Harris

    5 stars
    These Cookies are delicious. However, please be aware that when you print the recipe, it does not include the flour. I don’t know if other people have informed you of this mistake in printing.

  2. 4 stars
    Hi. Is it normal for bottom of cookies to flatten a bit?
    I baked mine 15 min. Bottoms look done. I THINK.

    • Sara Garska

      Yes, Granny’s Surprise cookies do flatten out a bit on the bottom. Totally normal. Hope they taste delicious–this is my favorite cookie. Sara

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