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Viennese Crescents

Is it possible not to love a crunchy almond cookie tossed in powdered sugar? And, after thousands of years of refining various cuisines, honing cooking tools, and passing down culinary knowledge from one generation to the next, is it possible to forget everything else when in the presence of one of these cookies?

There are days when I am lucky enough to enjoy wild mushrooms, exotic fruits, or fabulous and complex preparations. These, however, are far from my mind when a plate of cookies is set before me. How indeed could I think of anything else?

In all seriousness, though, it seems that we have done little to improve upon the cookie in recent years. Of course, we have our overloaded monster cookies and organic whoopie pies, but the superb simplicity of the old-fashioned cookie jar (and the cookies therein) remain unbested.

Many of my favorite old cookie recipes involve ground almonds, or almond meal. Almond meal adds a superb flavor to baked goods without compromising the texture, as many gluten free flours do. However, almond meal also imparts lightness and crunch in cookies, which is part of the appeal of these almond crescents.

I found that these cookies improve in flavor over the period of a week, so feel free to make them ahead of time, and don't worry too much about their shelf life. Safely contained in an airtight tin, these lovelies will last for weeks.

Other articles you might enjoy: Thumbprint Cookies Molasses Ginger Cookies, Iced Hermits

Viennese Crescents
About forty-eight 2 1/4-inch cookies

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease or line 2 cookie sheets.
Beat in a large bowl until creamy:
     1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
Add and beat until well combined:
     ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
Beat in:
     1 cup ground walnuts or ground blanched almonds
     2 teaspoons vanilla
     1 teaspoon cinnamon

Stir in until well blended:
     2 cups all-purpose flour
Chill the dough. Roll 1-tablespoon pieces of dough into short ropes to shape. Arrange about ¼ inch apart on the cookie sheets. Bake until crescents begin to brown, 13 to 15 minutes. Let stand briefly, then remove to a rack to cool. Roll the cooled cookies in:
     ⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar


kmwiltsey's picture

I remember these from when I was a kid. My Mom LOVED making these for us. I haven't had them in so many years and I think this will be my next weekend project for after Christmas. I am so happy I found this website!!
Carolyn Fenwick's picture

Cooking is a passion of mine. I have been collecting cookbooks and trying new recipes for 40 years. Having recently discovered "Joy of Cooking" at the Public Library, I have learned two things. It is the ultimate teacher and the ONLY cookbook one needs.
Jason's picture

There should not be any cinnamon in this recipe. It changes the flavor and if you read the text of the recipe in the cook book cinnamon is not an ingredient.
john's picture

We ARE the cookbook, Jason. Thanks for demonstrating your imperfect knowledge of our recipe for Viennese Crescents.
john's picture

My bad Jason. Sorry for the "hot take"... I responded rashly to your comment. In the 1997 edition, you are correct: the recipe does not call for cinnamon. This was an aberration in the publication history of the book. From 1931 through 1975, our recipe for crescent cookies called for cinnamon, or lists it as an option. We reverted to this in the 2006 edition as well. An important aside regarding this type of thing: adding a little spice (or omitting a little) to one of our cookie recipes is not "wrong."

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