Cookie of the Month: Gazing at buttery crescents

The full moon does have an effect. I find myself both mesmerized by its brilliance and taunted in (and mostly out) of sleep by its bright pull on the inner and outer psyche. The full moon and its fans get all the showy attention, but I have always been fond of the crescent moon, its crisp luminance cutting a striking slice into the sky at dusk.

I found recently, too, that a crescent is a thing to behold (and inhale) in the form of a buttery cookie, filled with toasted walnuts, and made snowy white with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.

The recipe, from Cook’s Illustrated and shared via a recipe board , is one of a long line of holiday (or any day) cookie traditions of simple shortbread dough molded into crescents. I had long had my eye on this type of cookie for the holidays (from recipes that called the cookies everything from “nutmeg logs” to “Viennese Crescents”), so I decided to give this particular recipe a try.

Pecan or Walnut Crescents begin with lots of nuts. I chose to toast up walnuts (kind of under-sung compared to pecans) for this recipe. They were blitzed (via the blender) to make them in fine bits to permeate and add tasty texture to the cookies.

Another key to this recipe is its high butter content (two sticks), softened and creamed with superfine sugar and a splash of vanilla.

Though not included in the recipe, cinnamon and a bit of nutmeg went into my dry ingredients of flour and salt to add a bit of wintery spice to the cookies. The finely chopped nuts were blended in to the dry ingredients

The plush, buttery dough was easy to mold into balls that were shaped into crescents. It was a satisfying process to see all those crescents add up on the sheet.

Baked to a golden brown, the buttery cookies, rich with walnuts and a little spice, filled the kitchen with an aroma you would want in your kitchen every day, if possible.

After the cookies had cooled, they were tossed in a bowl of powdered sugar, which always adds its own sweet cooling effect to any baked good.

Oh, these crescents from above were like little morsels from heaven, buttery rich and melt-in-your mouth, they were similar in taste and texture to Mexican Wedding Cookies or polvorones. These tender, crumbly, sweet and nutty goodies would be made again, and often, as often as I could try to capture the crescent moon.


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