Sunday, December 07, 2008

Baking Christmas Cookies - Crescent Cookies

Every year for the last little while my Mom has baked dozens and dozens of her famous Crescent Cookies and shipped a tin to each of her children's families at Christmas. These rich morsels contain lots of butter, finely chopped pecans, and are rolled in confectioner's (icing) sugar. Each one sits in a muffin paper. Only a few break during shipping, so there are plenty for the cookie tray and some to go with a restorative cup of tea.

This year Thanksgiving was too late. Crescent Cookies will have to be baked at home. Mom is gearing up for Christmas visitors and for making the Lane Cake, so she really doesn't have the time or energy this year for baking so many Crescent Cookies.

Even if you are not an official member of my family, you can start your own holiday tradition by baking a batch (or more...they make great gifts!) of these delicious cookies. They are simplicity itself to make.The recipe may have come from somewhere else originally, but I got my copy from my Mom and reprinted it in Family Food, 1994.

Crescent Cookies

1 ½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
3 cups flour
1 ½ - 2 cups finely chopped pecans
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cream butter, add the rest of the ingredients, and mix thoroughly. Chill. Shape into 1 inch by 3 inch crescents on a buttered baking sheet. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes in a preheated 300 degree F oven. Cool. Roll in confectioners’ sugar and store airtight. Makes 4 dozen.

To prepare in a food processor: Put the butter, cut into chunks in the bowl of the processor. With metal blade, cream butter on high about half a minute. Add rest of ingredients and process until a ball of dough forms. Chill. Continue as described above.


  1. Elle, what a great new header. Are those pewter measuring spoons in the picture? I have my great-grandmother's, and they look a lot like that set.

    Ah, crescent cookies. I've had something close to that with almonds... these look mouthwatering.

  2. TadMack, the spoons are aluminum (I think)...I've had them a long time and bought them in an antiques store. They are my favorites. I also have plastic and cheap metal measuring spoons...can't have too many.
    Thanks for noticing the header. Had to switch from Fall to holiday...and the holdiay baking means lots of things to wash. This was a photo of a stack of washed up baking items. :)

  3. I love cookies that have been made for years! these look delicious!

  4. The blog is looking fantastic and hose cookies - oh my - every culure seems to have a version of these and they're on my list to make. I call them cocaine cookies and they're just entirely addictive.

  5. Anonymous7:14 AM

    Great looking cookies! Could you send me one? :) Maybe I should just make my own this weekend.

  6. I love these cookies and every year I always say I'll make some and I never do. Maybe this year...

  7. Deborah, Thanks!

    Giz, They really are addictive!

    Katzkitchen, Hope you made 'em...they are good.

    Katie, they take a little time to shape, but are worth it.

  8. Anonymous10:05 AM

    I've just finished making a batch of crescent cookie dough, which is now chilling, to be baked later today. What's the phrase--"paying it forward"? Following in Mother's footsteps, I now make a couple of batches of crescents each Christmas and give most of them to my friends Pam and Rob, an older neighbor who is a widower, and the FedEx guy, who has become a friend over the years.

    In preparing for this year's crescent baking, I remembered a tip from Mother: Use half margarine and half butter. When we were kids, it was probably all margarine. Later she (and I) tried using all butter, and the texture and flavor just aren't the same. Look for margarine that doesn't have water as one of the major ingredients. We'll see how I do with Blue Bonnet this year, which was the best I could do at my local small grocery store.

    Another thing I realized: Some time back, I had annotated my cookbook to make a slightly larger batch with simpler measurements:

    2 cup butter, softened
    1 cup sugar
    4 cups flour
    2 cups finely chopped pecans
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  9. Dear Next Sister Down, Thanks for the tips and the larger amount recipe! It's nice to know that you are carrying on a grand tradition. I'll use the half and half method for the batch I hope to bake tomorrow morning. Hugs!

  10. Anonymous7:29 AM

    I have those aluminum measuring spoons with me in Austria, brought from the USA and we just got through making a batch of "Vanillakipferl". Actually, our made-from-scratch ones last year just turned to (delicious)crumbs as we tried to coat them in powdered sugar. So I am on-line looking for a store-bought dough like that which we used this year. Our refridgerated batter (Tante Fanny) is an Austrian product, very tasty it is, too, but it looks like there will be no short cuts in the US next Christmas.