pecan crescent cookies for christmas! . . .
Long ago and far away when my three daughters were young, growing up in a suburb of Boston, I made pecan crescent cookies along with the basic sugar cookies cut out with reindeer and Santa shapes which they would decorate with colored sugar and icing for Christmas.
I didn’t make them every year because the process was a little elaborate and pecans were expensive. This year, however, I decided to resurrect that recipe and make these tender melt-in-your-mouth cookies again.
First, please know that putting the dough together and making/baking the cookies is a two step process (see what I mean?) You first make the dough and then divide it into two and refrigerate the dough OVERNIGHT.
The next day, you take out the dough from the fridge and let them sit for about an hour at room temperature. Then, individually shape them with your hands, bake them at 325 degrees and then roll the warm cookies in confectioners sugar, shaking off the excess. They’re worth it though – and how would I know? I just made the dough and tasted a smidge of it before wrapping it up and putting it in the fridge. It was delicious and reminescent of the cookies of our distant past!~
Here’s the recipe I followed:
PECAN CRESCENT COOKIES:
8 oz. chopped pecans (mine was Diamond brand) This = 2 cups of nuts for the recipe below.
4 cups flour; 1 teaspoon salt, 1.5 cups confectioners sugar (and more for rolling when baked)
4 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature; 4 teaspoons of vanilla
- Buy a packet of pecans. They cost $6.99 here but there’s two cups of nuts and you can make this recipe which yields 6 dozen cookies.
- In a dry skillet on medium heat, toast the pecans and stir them up until you can smell the toasted aroma of the pecans. Turn off the heat.
- In a Cuisinart (despite the recent blade recall) or other food processor, measure 2 cups of flour, add all the toasted pecans (which is about 2 cups total) and a teaspoon of salt.
- Pulse until the pecans are ground up and mixed with the flour/salt. Set it aside.
- In a large mixing bowl and electric mixer (I have a portable Kitchenaid one where the beaters fall out all the time) and unwrap 4 sticks of butter (yep!) at room temperature. I let it sit out the night before on the kitchen counter. Add 1 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar and 4 teaspoons of vanilla. Beat the mixture until it is creamy and well blended.
- Add the pecan/flour mixture to the creamed butter/sugar bowl. Combine and mix at low speed. Add 2 more cups of flour and blend it together, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a spatula.
- Divide the dough into half and wrap each half with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Refrigerate it overnight.
- READY TO FORM AND BAKE the next day: Preheat oven to 325 and line cookie sheets with baking parchment paper.
- With your hands, take about a tablespoon of dough, I roll it between my hands to form a cylinder, then curve it and pinch it gently to form a crescent with a ridge on the top tapering out to the base of the cookie on the baking sheet. Space them one inch apart because they expand slightly during baking.
- Bake for 18 minutes or until slightly browned on the edges. Remove them with a spatula to a wire drying rack;
- Let cool for 10 minutes and then roll the cookies in confectioners sugar, shaking off the excess and place in an airtight container lined with parchment paper. They will last 2 weeks and also freeze well.
They’re a little different from other cookie recipes, tender to the bite with a nutty flavor that melts in one’s mouth. Very handy to have around for the holidays when people drop by and to give to friends along with a couple of mince pies too!