X-Mas Special: Almond Vanilla Crescent Cookies
Almond Vanilla Crescent Cookies
Even though my mom bakes about 12–15 different kinds of cookies during the holiday season, there are two classic staples she always includes, and without which the Czech Christmas would feel incomplete (at least to me): linzer cookies and these crescent cookies.
Very tender, with a pleasant vanilla flavor, they are made with just a handful of ingredients—the most important being nuts. My mom always grinds her own to get the freshest taste, and you should do the same, although store-bought almond meal is an okay substitute. Almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts can all be used; I haven’t tried pecans, but I’m sure they’d work great as well.
When you take the finished cookies out of the oven, try to roll them in the sugar as soon as possible (without burning your fingers) so it sticks to them easily. Unlike typical American cookies, these actually taste better after they’ve had time to sit for two or three days and develop their flavor.
- Yields about 40 cookies
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- ½ cup powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 1¾ cups finely ground almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix everything together, tossing and kneading until dough forms, about 5–7 minutes. Flatten the dough to create a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator, and let rest at room temperature for 15–20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Using a cookie scoop, measure 1½ tablespoons of dough, and use your hands to form it into a ball. Press the ball down on a clean surface, and roll it into a 3-inch-long cylinder. Form the cylinder into a crescent and place on the baking sheet. Keep forming crescents, spacing them about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets, until you use all the dough.
- Bake in the oven until lightly golden, about 18–20 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Have a bowl with powdered sugar ready, and while still warm, carefully roll each cookie in the sugar. Store the cookies in a container with a tight lid, layered with parchment paper, for up to 4 weeks.
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