Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Crescent Cookies

The Christmas cookie season is in DEFCON mode.

Recipes and cookies are flying all over the place.

I guess it's time to contribute my part to this madness.

Last year I shared my most prized recipe and tradition of Potato Chip Cookies. This year I'm going with another classic: Crescent Cookies.

These cookies are known by many names and treasured by cultures around the world: Wedding Cookies, Tea Cakes, Kourambedes, Mantecados, Pastelitos de Boda, and the list goes on.

The ingredients may differ slightly, but the result is the same - a crisp, sweet cookie that melts in your mouth like snow on your tongue. It's heavenly.

I actually received this recipe last year around the holidays while visiting family in Central Florida. A sweet neighbor brought over a tray of these cookies, which were some of the best I've ever taste. I gushed over their delight. To my surprise, the lovely lady flagged me down and provided me with the recipe just as we were heading out of town in the car. I was both shocked and grateful. I pulled out the recipe from my cabinet this week and thought I should continue passing along the gift.

It has me thinking about legacy and history. Not everyone is taught how to cook by their grandmother from a foreign land, full of tradition. Sometimes treasures are discovered in other ways, like cookbooks or other literacy.

You may remember I am a book club member and love reading. Not a fan of e-readers, I prefer the old school method of going down to a local book shop, thumbing through a seemingly endless selection, and buying a physical representation of someone's heart and soul. I love the smell and wonder of reading a new book. Feeling it in my hands. Learning and interpreting something new. Reading is so important, as the tradition of passing down history and knowledge is like a fountain of youth.

I have discovered by reading other food blogs that many of my fellow recipe authors also enjoy a good book. This has led to my decision to start an online food book club. Once a month, those who would like to participate, may post a book review that contains a recipe inspired by the chosen book for that month. The inspiration can by anything related, from a recipe mentioned in the story to a period dish that represents the time frame of the characters and settings.

I want this experience to be enjoyable. The books and recipes will not be restrictive, so the reviews will not be limited to cookbooks, nor do the recipes have to be something ancient. I would like other food bloggers to experiment with natural ingredients to make over a recipe or try an old dish for the first time. Just real food inspired by real books.

If enough people are interested, we may work out a system to have others pick book selections or come up with additional ideas. For now, we'll just keep it simple and see how it goes.

The first book will be Consuming Passions: A Food-Obsessed Life. I have not read this book, but the reviews are positive for both the charming portrayal of Southern American life and recipes. The author writes about her misunderstanding of healthy fats and cooking, while sharing classic Southern American recipes. I am interested to see the reviews from other food blog authors and whether they agree or disagree with the author's thoughts of fats and cooking styles.

The Food Book Club will "meet" on the 15th of each month, thus posting their book review and recipe at 3pm EST (convert to your local time here). If you'd like to attend the first "meeting", just add your blog to the list below! I must be able to contact you via email to share the linking code, as this must be on all participants' blogs.

Now that the big announcement is over, it's time to get to cooking.

Crescent Cookies
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/4 cup turbinado
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup pecans, finely minced
1/2 cup walnuts, finely minced
1/2 cup powdered sugar

First cream together the butter, turbinado, and vanilla.

Then slowly add the flour and nuts, just mixing until combined.

Spoon the dough onto plastic wrap and mold into a log. Wrap tight and refrigerator for at least 30 min.

Preheat the oven to 350*F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut into 1/2" circles (the dough freezes well and not all cookies need to be baked immediately). Use your hands to gently mold the cookies into crescent shapes. The dough is loose and can crumble easily, so take your time with this step.

Bake for 12 min. (I like the ridge left at the top since it holds more powdered sugar.)

Allow the cookies to cool for 10 min on the sheet. Then dip into powdered sugar and enjoy. These even taste better the next day!

~Yields 22 cookies.

~Recipe by Warlene.


  1. Beautiful cookies and I love the book club idea! I may join next month...but have 3 books on the table right to go through. =)

  2. Gorgeous cookies!

  3. Mmmm...I love crescent cookies!!

  4. That's my favorite kind of cookies. Fluffy and yummy.

  5. I love these cookies! I made some a few weeks ago and put cherries in the mix! Super yummy!