Whenever I need to bake multiple batches of cookies at one time – for a holiday party, a cookie swap or as a treat friends and family – I like to make sure there is some variety in my presentation by making cookies that look distinctive. This could be accomplished by baking one batch of chocolate chip cookies and another of chocolate brownie cookies, but it can also be done by having shapes in a variety of sizes and shapes. Once my oven is preheated, it is just an invitation to add another batch of dough to my do-to list.
These Pecan Crescent Cookies are incredibly easy to make, whether you are making multiple batches of cookies or just one batch. They have a very short ingredient list and, though they are shaped by hand, they come together very quickly. The secret to these cookies is using pecans that have been roasted and salted when making the cookie dough. The salt from the nuts gives the cookies adds just enough savoriness to make the cookies irresistible, and toasted nuts always deliver more flavor than untoasted nuts. I recommend buying the nuts pre-toasted and salted if you are looking to save time, though you can roast them yourself and add a generous dash of salt to the nuts while they are still hot from the oven. I chopped the nuts by hand, which resulted in some coarser pieces and some finer ones. Generally, the nuts should be as small as you can chop them, though a little variation in size makes them look homemade.
The dough will be a bit dry when it comes together, but keep on mixing and it will come together after a minute or so. The dough is fairly easy to handle once it is made and it is buttery enough that you don’t need to worry about over-handling it as you shape the cookies. First, form the dough into evenly sized balls, then gently roll each ball (between the palms of your hands) into a 2-inch long long. Curve the lot into a crescent and place on the baking sheet. I gently flatten mine just to ensure they are all an even thickness. The finished cookies have a great flavor and will absolutely melt in your mouth. They keep very well, making them an excellent choice for shipping as well as snacking. Feel free to double the recipe if you need a bigger batch!
Pecan Crescent Cookies
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped roasted and salted pecans
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract, then slowly mix in the flour and pecans. The dough may appear dry, but continue to mix and it will come together.
Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, then roll the balls between the palms of your hands until they form longs no more than 2-inches long. Curve the logs into crescent shapes and arrange on prepared baking sheet. The cookies will spread slightly, but you do not need a lot of room between each cookie. Press cookies down gently to ensure they are all an even thickness.
Bake for 9-12 minutes, until the cookies just begin to turn golden brown at the tips of the crescents. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 24 cookies.