White Chocolate Tangerine Tea Cakes

They go by many names. Tea Cakes. Mexican Wedding Cakes. Snowball Cookies. Southern Pecan Butterballs.


Whatever you call them, these nutty, buttery shortbread balls covered in powdered sugar are a holiday staple. This year, I wanted to give them a special twist by adding some citrus.


With only the tangerine zest and orange extract, the cookies were a little bland. But adding the ground white chocolate made the citrus flavors pop, giving these cookies a decadent, festive flavor.


Add these to your holiday cookie rotation ASAP. They take no time at all to make, and the citrus is a nice contrast to all the chocolate, peanut butter and other warm flavors that show up on dessert tables this time of year!TeaCakes5.jpg

White Chocolate Tangerine Tea Cakes

Yield: About 50 cookies

White Chocolate Tangerine Tea Cakes

If you don't have any orange extract, you can use 1 tsp of vanilla extract instead.


  • 1 c butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp orange extract*
  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 c blanched, sliced almonds
  • 1/2 c white chocolate chips
  • 1 T tangerine zest (zest of about 1 small tangerine)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a food processor or blender, grind the almonds and chocolate into small, coarse pieces, then set aside.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Beat in the orange extract, flour and salt. Mix in the almonds, chocolate and tangerine zest until blended.
  4. Roll the dough into 1" balls (about 2 tsp of dough per cookie) and space 1" apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350F for 11-14 minutes, until the tops of the cookies are firm.
  5. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the tops with powdered sugar, and allow to cool completely.

Make Ahead and Storage


What are some of the staples of your holiday baking?


Want some other holiday cookie recipes? Check these out:

Perfect Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies

Chai Wafers

Matcha White Chocolate Shortbread

Maple Sugar Cookies


  1. says

    Oh, love the tangerine zest addition. My family uses teacake dough to make secret kiss cookies (wrap it around a chocolate kiss) – and some dark chocolate kisses wrapped in tangerine-scented dough would be most excellent.

  2. says

    These sound really excellent, Julie! I’m not a normal cookie lover, but when you call them tea cakes with powdered sugar and make them look so fluffy they become so appealing.

  3. says

    I’ve never actually made Mexican wedding cakes because I always see them and think ‘eh.’ But adding white chocolate and citrus… THAT will make me want to try them! And I agree with Jessica, the pictures make me want to go cozy up by the tree.