Vanilla Almond Crescent Cookies make a great addition to any cookie plate because they are lovely to look at. They’re also both easy to make and delicious to eat – both features I always want to have in a cookie recipe that I can make again and again. The dough for these is a shortbread like-dough, made with no extra leavening agents to prevent the cookies from spreading during baking and losing their crescent shape. They are slightly crisp and tender, thanks to a good dose of almond flour in the dough, but they aren’t as crumbly as a traditional shortbread would be.
The cookies themselves aren’t too sweet, thought they do have a nice flavor combination of butter, vanilla and almonds. They’re not particularly sweet because they are meant to be thoroughly coated with confectioners’ sugar after baking. This process does make for a cookie that is slightly messier to eat (since you’ll probably end up with some confectioners’ sugar on your fingertips. Some people recommend rolling the cookies in sugar while they are still hot. I find that to be a very messy process and that the sugar melts onto the cookies so quickly that you have to add additional sugar later for a better finished look. I prefer to wait until the cookies are completely cooled (about 30 minutes or so) before thoroughly coating them in snow white sugar and serving.
To shape the cookies, I first form the dough into balls. I then roll the balls out into short logs of dough that are thicker in the center than at the sides and curl the ends in to form the crescent. By shaping the dough into balls first, I find that I end up with cookies that are more evenly sized and need the same amount of time in the oven to bake completely.
The finished cookies will keep well for several days when stored in an airtight container, though one batch isn’t very big and should get eaten up very quickly. The recipe can be doubled to serve a crowd – or just a small group of big cookie fans.
Vanilla Almond Crescent Cookies
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal or almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, almond flour and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract and almond extract until mixture is smooth.
Working by hand or with a mixer on low speed, stir in the flour mixture until dough comes together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls between your palms so that they form 1 1/2 to 2 inch logs that are thicker in the center than at the ends. Curl the ends around to form a crescent and transfer to a prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cookies are set and are very lightly browned at the edges.
Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
When cookies are cool, sift confectioners’ sugar into a shallow bowl or dish. Generously coat the cookies in confectioners’ sugar and then serve or transfer to an airtight container for storage.
Makes about 2 dozen.