A few years ago I attended my first Pittsburgh wedding. It followed all of the usual American wedding traditions — the ceremony at a church, the reception at a different venue, and a delicious meal followed by cake and dancing. One new and exciting tradition was a large table at the reception laden with a variety of cookies. All of the guests were invited to snack on cookies throughout the reception, and to take home a few cookies using provided to-go boxes. It was fantastic!
In addition to learning about this fascinating local tradition, I learned about a new type of cookie – the almond crescent. Somehow, I had gone the first two decades of my life without ever trying one of these delightful, buttery creations. My husband beseeched me to fill our to-go box with several of these cookies, and I am so glad he did.Jump to Recipe
Many people consider almond crescents a Christmas cookie, but you could make these any time of year without hearing complaints. (Unless someone has a nut allergy – these cookies are great, but not worth an allergic reaction.) My husband’s family traditionally uses the Betty Crocker recipe, which I have slightly adapted below. If you’ve never tried this cookie, I highly recommend giving them a shot.
Start be preparing your almonds. If using sliced almonds, scoop a scant ⅔ cup of almonds into your blender or food processor. Three, five-second pulses should macerate your almonds to the correct texture. If you already have almond meal or almond flour, it will work fine.
Next, using your favorite type of electric mixer, cream together your butter and sugar.
Mix in almond and vanilla extracts before adding the ground almonds.
Work in your flour and salt. At this point, the dough should be soft and just slightly more crumbly than most cookie doughs.
Divide the dough in half and form each half into a 12-inch long tube. Wrap in plastic (or your favorite eco-friendly alternative) and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
This is where things get fun. As you remove your log from the refrigerator, preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Cut your dough log into one-inch pieces.
Roll each one-inch piece into a 3-to-4 inch long “snake”, then form each snake into a crescent. This may get tricky, as the dough can be a bit crumbly. If the final shape isn’t important to you, it’s okay if the crescent breaks in half – the true goal here is consistency in size and shape, so that your cookies bake evenly.
Place crescents on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat the crescent-forming procedure with the other half of your dough.
Bake your cookies for 14-16 minutes or until set. Do not overbake; if they are brown, they have been in the oven too long! Allow crescents to cool on the pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring to wax paper or a cooling rack.
While the cookies are baking, combine powdered sugar with cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture over the cooling cookies. When your crescents have cooled completely, you may also roll them in the powdered sugar mixture. Be careful not to try this method while the cookies are warm, as they may fall apart.
I hope you enjoy this classic holiday treat!
- 1 cup butter
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- ⅔ c ground almonds
- 1 ⅔ c flour
- ¼ t salt
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- If using sliced almonds, scoop a scant ⅔ cup of almonds into your blender or food processor. Three 5-second pulses should macerate your almonds to the correct texture.
- Cream together butter and sugar. Mix in almond and vanilla extracts before mixing in ground almonds. Work in flour and salt.
- Divide dough in half and form into approximately 12-inch long tubes. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill dough for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove one dough log from refrigerator and cut it into one-inch pieces.
- Roll each one-inch piece into a 3-4 inch long “snake”, then form each snake into a crescent.
- Place crescents on ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat crescent-forming procedure with the other half of your dough.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until set. Do not overbake. Allow crescents to cool on pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring to wax paper or a cooling rack.
- While the cookies are baking, combine confectioners sugar with cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture over the cooling cookies.
- Allow cookies to cool completely before eating.