Extemely popular at Christmastime, Vanilla Crescent Cookies are loaded with vanilla flavour! These melt-in-your-mouth cookies are made with lots of heart-healthy ground nuts and vanilla sugar!
This just might be the last cookie in this series that relates directly to European cookies. Vanilla Crescent Cookies are an extremely popular confection in some European countries; so much so that it’s hard to tell which country they originated from.
Should you be new here, let me tell you a bit about how this works. This is my third annual Christmas cookie extravaganza. Like the previous two years, I will post a brand new Christmas cookie recipe for 24 consecutive days. Yes, that means Saturdays and Sundays too! For your reference, you can find links to the first two years further down the page.
Fresh off of my 12 Biscotti of Christmas series, I’m excited about this new series. Last year, I also did 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas. Now, who’s ready to get started on today’s cookie with me? Let me ask you again today. Do you have your flour and sugar ready? Is your butter soft and at room temperature? Are you ready to get confectioner’s sugar dust everywhere? Is your apron on and your oven preheated? Good! Let’s get to it!
Since the day I was fortunate enough to meet my dear friend, Nadia, I have loved these crescent cookies. She will probably argue that they are Italian, and she may be right! All I know is that they are a very popular European confection during the holidays. A quick internet search will suggest that these are popular throughout Austria, Germany, Poland, Hungary, etc. (Sorry, Nadia!)
I absolutely love them! They have this buttery, sugary, vanilla flavour, that’s all married together in this crumbly, nutty cookie. This particular version uses vanilla sugar. I think that makes this one more Austrian, since it is very comparable to the Austrian Vanillekipferl cookie.
WHAT IS VANILLA SUGAR?
Vanilla sugar is a sugar that’s made of sugar and vanilla beans, or a sugar that’s mixed with vanilla extract. Pretty self-explanatory, right? You can buy it pre-packaged, but it can be hard to find, to be honest. I had to order it from Amazon, because I couldn’t find it at grocery stores in the countryside. It was $12, but that gets you 6 packages. Previously, I have spotted it at Walmart.
Is it possible to make your own? Sure! But you need a vanilla pod from which you can scrape the beans. You combine that with sugar and wait a few weeks. Who has time? And do you know how expensive vanilla beans can be?
If you cannot find the Dr. Oetker brand locally, or if you don’t want to spend $12 at Amazon, then I have solution for you. You can add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract to your dough mixture. But, if you do that, then omit one of the egg yolks. Otherwise, you will make the dough too wet.
GROUND NUTS – WALNUTS, ALMOND, HAZELNUTS – WOW!
Do you want to know something really great about Vanilla Crescent Cookies? You can use almost any nut you like! Ground walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts are the most commonly used nuts for this recipe. You can use all of one kind, or you can make your own blend of the three.
Once you have decided, it’s time to grind them. If you have opted to toast the nuts before, you must make sure they are completely cooled before you move forward. Warm nuts will most likely become pasty in the food processor. Cooled toasted nuts have firmed up and the natural oil has once again hardened.
Place the nuts into a food processor. We do not want nut flour or nut butter here! Literally, pulse the nuts two to three times maximum. Want you want is a coarse sand-like consistency with quite visible chunks in it. Don’t worry about the consistency too much. The key here is to keep the nuts from becoming mushy or moist.
STORING, PACKAGING, AND FREEZING
If you plan to freeze these cookies, you certainly can! Once they are completely cooled, pile them into a clean, food-safe container. The container must be freezer friendly! You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. (I use these quite often when freezing baked goods.) I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that cookie freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. If you plan to give the frozen cookies as a gift, I would lay them out onto a wire cooling rack to thaw. Once thawed, dust liberally again with the confectioner’s sugar. Pile into cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon, or stack in a cookie tin/box.
As I said, every day I will be posting a new recipe. If you miss one, don’t fret. You can find my entire collection of Christmas Recipes right here! There are over 100 Christmas recipes and counting. There’s something for everyone! Cheers!
Vanilla Crescent Cookies
For the Cookie:
- 1 cup salted butter, softened
- 2 large egg yolks,
- 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar (or one tablespoon of vanilla extract)
- 1 cup ground nuts, see notes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
For the Topping:
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- In a mixing bowl, use a hand-held mixer to beat together the butter, egg yolks, and vanilla sugar until just mixed. (If using vanilla extract instead of the vanilla sugar, add it now, but omit one egg yolk.)
- Next, add in the flour, and ground nuts. Beat in on low speed. The mixture will be crumbly. Knead together and form into a log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
- Pull about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough from the log. Roll in your hand and form into a crescent shape. Set it down on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between each cookie.
- Bake for 12 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire cooling rack and dust liberally with confectioner's sugar. Allow cookies to fully cool before storing.