Makes about 4 dozen cookies
You probably had cookies similar to these, perhaps in the shape of a finger or ball. But this recipe, which came from my mother, is the best of its kind I have ever tasted. She always made the cookies in the shape of a crescent for Christmas, as I usually do. However, when I need to get them done quickly, I just make small balls and they are every bit as festive.
I recently discovered that the origin of crescent cookies was Germany, Austria to be exact, which explains their popularity among the Pennsylvania Dutch. The original version was probably made with almonds.
- 1/2 pound butter, preferably unsalted, room temperature
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chopped pecans, toasted (see notes below)
- Sifted confectioners' (powdered) sugar
Preheat oven to 325° F. Cream butter; add sugar, vanilla and water. Sift together the flour and salt; stir into mixture until well mixed. Add pecans and mix thoroughly. Using portions the size of a walnut, roll into balls or crescent shapes. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Roll in confectioners' sugar while still warm. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to three weeks.
Notes: Cookies can be frozen for up to six months. However, I have successfully stored them in the freezer for one year. Mom never toasted her nuts, so it is not necessary. I think it brings out their flavor. To toast, place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350° F oven for about 8 minutes, checking often to make sure they do not burn. When they smell like pecans, they are done. Cool before using in the recipe. This recipe can be halved.