Tonight marks both Chanukah’s halfway mark and Christmas Eve. What better time to treat your family and friends to one of the world's most popular Old World cookies?
THE STORY BEHIND MY PECAN CRESCENTS
My family loves European style nut cookies, and through the years, I have baked Polish rogaliki, German pfeffernuessen, Hungarian Nusskipferl, and dozens of other variations.
Some use walnuts, others almonds or a mix of nuts. Since discovering a recipe called “My Mom’s Pecan Crescents” in the Washington Post’s Food Section on December 13th, 2006, I’ve been hooked on using pecans.
The recipe for these Old World treats came from the personal files of cookbook author Elinor Klivan. I changed the recipe slightly to make it quicker and easier.
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pecan pieces
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Put butter and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of a food processor and mix. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the flour, salt and pecans and mix again.
Roll a rounded teaspoon of dough between the palms of your hands into a cylinder with tapered ends. Place it on the baking sheet, then curve it into a crescent. Repeat with the remaining dough, placing the cookies 1 inch apart. (They do not spread much during baking.) Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cookie edges and pointed ends are light brown. Cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 24 cookies.
Crescents can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for about two weeks (ha!) or frozen, well wrapped, for up to 2 months (yes, they’re even good frozen).
Bake a batch, and in the future...
I guarantee your kids will always request their “Mom’s Pecan Crescents” at holiday time.