Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Crescent Cookies


Two people have reported problems with this recipe, so I'd suggest you DON'T make it. 
I'll go back the the original scribbles and see where I screwed up.

Now that I've pulled out my original recipe, THIS IS NOT IT. Not sure where this went wrong, but this doesn't match up with any of the versions I've made, so I'm not sure what happened. 

I'm pulling the recipe for now, and I'll repost when I find the correct version.

I was first introduced to these cookies as a child when we'd visit relatives on Christmas Eve every year. These powdery delights were my favorite, and when I got old enough to be interested, I asked my aunt for the recipe. I was crushed when I found out they were bakery cookies, but eventually I found a recipe that was similar.

Then I found a lot of recipes, with a lot of names. These could be Mexican Wedding Cookies or they could be Snowballs, but when the winter holidays roll around, these become Crescent Cookies at my house.

It's easier to make a round ball and be done with it, but the familiar crescent shape reminds me of those long-ago holidays when the most pressing question was whether Santa made it to our house while we were out, or if he was working the late shift and would be stopping by after we were all asleep.

One trick to these cookies is rolling them in the powdered sugar at just the right time. If you do it when the cookies are warm, the sugar will melt and it will be a mess. Wait until the cookies are stone cold, and the sugar won't stick nearly as well. And we all know that the powdered sugar clinging to them is a critical part of the fun as it sprinkles down when you eat them.

Walnuts or pecans are my favorites in these cookies, but you could use any nut you like. Chop them finely, but don't let them turn completely into dust - you want some small bits and pieces in these cookies.

Holiday Crescent Cookies
Read the message up top - I'll repost when I find out where the correct recipe disappeared to.

granulated sugar
all purpose flour
very finely chopped nuts
Confectioner's sugar (for coated, as needed)

Cream the butter and sugar, then add the vanilla and beat until it is completely incorporated. Add the flour and nuts and mix until combined.

Transfer the mixture to a zip-top plastic bag and refrigerate at least over night. I've kept it refrigerated for several days when baking had to be put off, with no ill effect.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. For easy cookie-removal and cleanup, line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Taking about a tablespoon of dough at a time, form the dough into a small log, then form it into a crescent shape. Leave a little room between the cookies for them to expand during cooking. These don't spread like drop cookies, but they do expand a little during baking.

Bake at 325 degrees until the cookies are very lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Let them cool for a minute to two on the pan, then carefully removed them to a rack. They're very fragile and crumbly while they're warm, but they hold together better when cooled.

When the cookies are nearly cooled, but still barely warm, roll them in powdered sugar to coat them, then let them cool completely before storing.


Anonymous said...

we always had these for christmas also - but they were handmade by an old family friend. however, her recipe which has now been lost called for melted butter rather than soft. so i was wondering if in your searching you came across any recipes that used melted butter? thanks.

Donna Currie said...

Wow, that's interesting. Melted butter would create a whole different texture. If it was warm, it might even melt the sugar. I've never run across a recipe like that, but I'd bet that she simply took one of the existing billion variations and one day melted the butter by accident and like the way it worked and just kept doing that. I'm thinking it might be a little too wet, so she might have then added a bit more flour. It's an interesting idea. I'll play around with that and see if I can make it work. Thanks!

My Kitchen in the Rockies said...

I bake mine with hazelnuts. They are a staple since my childhood.

Anonymous said...

What happened? I just made the first half of the batch and they were totally flat. Tasted good but I had to throw them all out. The only substitution: 1/2 cup margarine for butter. I am adding an entire cup of flour to the second half, we'll see.

Donna Currie said...

Butter and margarine behave differently in baked goods. The seem like they should substitute, but it doesn't always work out the way you expect. I've never tried these with margarine.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the same boat as Anonymous above. I put 10 crescents on my large cookie sheet, and they all ran together into one giant 8x10 cookie and completely flat. I wonder if an ingredient isn't missing, such as baking soda or baking powder. This was a very expensive mistake (2 cups of butter and a cup of nuts down the drain).

Donna Currie said...

Okay, folks, something is weird. I'm going to try this recipe again and see if I can figure out where it's going wrong.

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