Almond crescent shaped cookies …. I’ve been waiting to make them a whole year. One of my most favorite Christmas cookies, even their name – CRESCENT – opens your imagination to something whimsical and winterish, evoking images of Nordic mythology, Lord of the Rings, or simply crescent moon suspended over winter land. I adore crescent shape. By the way, did you know that Crescent means Croissant in French? Yes, the bread roll was named Croissant for its crescent-like shape. I didn’t know that until today. Maybe, I am the only one who did not know that: it never crossed my mind that croissant sounds a lot like crescent. Croissants are worth making, too, if for their crescent shape alone (one more thing to add to my “to-do” list).
These cookies look giant on these photos, but in reality they are tiny and you could eat each cookie in one bite. Funny how if you put small cookies to occupy all of the space on a small plate or if you take a really close up photo, it makes cookies look tremendous.
It was my husband’s favorite cookie this winter and each time he ate one (well, probably not one but quite a few at a time), he said it brought him back to his childhood when his mom used to bake them a lot.
Needless to say, these cookies did not last long, either, just like these didn’t and these didn’t. However, in an improbable case that these cookies did last (which would only be possible if I had a lot of other equally yummy cookies laying around), then they could be kept in airtight container for about a month, and you can also freeze them. Not only pretty and delicious, but very practical cookies indeed.
Almond crescent Christmas cookies
Adapted from NY Times.
Prep time: 40 min
- 2/3 cup blanched, sliced almonds, toasted
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold, just out of refrigerator
- 1 and 2/3 cups bleached all-purpose flour, sifted or aerated (see important note below!)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar (for dusting)
Important note about properly measuring flour using measuring cups:
The proper way to measure flour using measuring cups is to aerate it first. This is done either by sifting flour, or aerating it by fluffing it up and whisking it well, then spooning it into the measuring cup, then carefully removing any excess flour with a knife. If you just stick that measuring cup in the bag of flour and scoop some out, you will get a lot more flour than what the recipe calls for. Do aerate the flour, or you will end up with dry dough! 🙂
1) Put almonds and sugar into food processor and process until almonds are finely ground. Cut cold butter into small pieces and add it to the food processor. Process until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
2) Add flour and salt to food processor, process until dough forms, scraping the sides of the food processor bowl with spatula if necessary. And by the way, 1/2 cup white sugar is more than enough for 1 2/3 cups of flour because you will be sprinkling each cookie with powdered sugar in the end.
3) Shape dough as a disk, wrap it in a plastic wrap, put in the freezer for 30 minutes, then in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Or refrigerate it for at least 2 hours.
4) Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit.
5) Divide dough into 4 portions and work with each portion separately, keeping the rest of the dough in the refrigerator to keep it cold. Pinch a portion of the dough and roll it between the palms of your hands in a small ball, then into a small cylinder. When you roll each ball, the cold dough will become more malleable. Form each cylinder into crescent shape with pointed ends.
6) Place each crescent on an ungreased cookie sheet and keep the cookie sheet with crescent shaped cookies in the refrigerator until all cookies are shaped. Also keep the dough in the refrigerator when not using it. It is important to keep cookie dough cold before baking to achieve the right cookie consistency. The cookies will require 2 cookie sheets.
7) Bake for about 12-15 minutes until cookies are set but not brown.
8) Cool cookies on a wire rack. Using sifter, sprinkle cookies with powdered sugar.