I'm in a major baking phase and more so than usual, especially when it comes to cookies.
I don't know if it's the holidays or the fact that in winter I prefer to be burrowed inside rather than outside or that I have this deeper desire than usual to share food with people but I have realized I could make food all day long and be tired at the end but happy.
So after being abundantly appalled that my kitchen is now fully stocked and prepared for any baking disaster (this includes 4 pounds of butter, 10 pounds of flour, 10 pounds of white sugar, 4 pounds of brown sugar, loads of nuts and eggs), I'll be making whatever cookies I can this December.
It began with super easy Nutella Rice Krispie Treats from the latest Bon Appetit Magazine (coming soon!). Then it was Lemon Poppy Seed Linzers and deciding to make Chewy Spiced Ginger Snaps on a whim.
And then it was these Almond Crescent Cookies. Both my mom and Popo are big fans of the Sunset Cookie Book—something that is clearly out of the 80s with it's warm photography and heavily serifed typography but holds some family classics like Chocolate Chews and Peanut Butter Blossoms. I loved that cookie book as a kid. Each section's main photo has a pattern of the featured cookies and I used to scrutinize each one and mentally pick out my favorites. It would have never been Almond Crescents back then. I was way more interested in chocolate and maybe peanut butter rather than a nutty and buttery cookie covered in powdered sugar.
While I still would rather reach for a Chocolate Chew, my coworkers' obsession with Russian Tea Cookies has pulled me over to the buttery and sugary spectrum of cookies. Plus, shaping these into crescents was pretty fun although dusting them with powdered sugar toyed with the part of me that likes to keep messes contained. I'm pretty sure the part of my carpet that is exactly at the edge of the table needs a heavy vacuum this weekend.
The less-than-10-ingredient dough is also an attractive feature. If you have almond meal on hand from say, Earl Grey Macarons with Chocolate Ganache, you can completely skip the nut blitzing business. I'm sure Gus was grateful that I didn't terrorize him a second time. He already had to endure the smoke alarm going off the day before.
To staring at the moon...and baking...
Almond Crescent Cookies
From the Sunset Cookie Book
Yields: 24-32 cookies
If you don't have almond meal, you can also spread almonds on a baking dish and toast in a 350ºF oven for 6-8 minutes or until lightly brown. Let cool completely and then blitz in a food processor.
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup almond meal or ground almonds
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1½ -2 cups powdered sugar for dusting
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add egg yolk and the 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar, mixing well. Mix in vanilla extract and ground almonds. In another bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Gradually add to the butter mixture, blending thoroughly.
Optional: Chill dough for an hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line a baking sheet with a non-stick sheet or parchment paper. Set aside.
Scoop 1-inch balls of dough and roll each into a 3-inch rope, tapering the ends. Shape into crescents. Place ropes about 2-inches apart on a baking sheet. Proceed with the rest of the dough. Bake for 30 minutes or until very lightly browned. Remove cookies to cool onto a rack for 5 minutes. Dust the bottom of a sheet pan with powdered sugar. Place crescent cookies on top. Dust again liberally with powdered sugar. Cookies can be shifted around until they are covered in sugar.
Leftover cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.