page.titleCrescent Cookies

Buttery, nutty cookies. A family heirloom recipe, these were my favourite Christmas cookies baked by my great-aunts Irene and Lillian. This recipe is a combination of their classic, with a few updates from the Cook's Illustrated version. The original was made with hazelnuts (a Czech favourite), but pecans or walnuts are also wonderful with pecans being a particular favourite.


  • 2 Cups whole pecans, hazelnuts, or walnuts, chopped fine
  • 2 Cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter (unsalted, softened) (or 1/2 pound or 2 sticks)
  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar (regular white sugar that’s been ground to fine dust)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Cups confectioners’ sugar


  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Mix 1 cup nuts, flour, and salt in bowl; set aside. Process remaining nuts until texture of course cornmeal. (To finely grind chopped nuts by hand, roll them between two large sheets of plastic wrap with rolling pin, applying moderate pressure, until broken down to cornmeal-like texture).
  3. Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in vanilla.
  4. Combine butter and sugar with flour mixture and all nuts and beat for at least a minute until well-mixed (if doing this recipe w gluten-based flour, beat until dough just begins to come together but still looks scrappy, about 15-25 seconds).
  5. Roll Tablespoon-sized dough balls into crescents and place on cooking sheets.
  6. Bake until tops are pale golden and bottoms are just beginning to brown, 17-19 minutes.
  7. Cool, and sprinkle on confectioners’ sugar.
© 2021 / Molly Jane Nicholas / email