These cookies are a family favorite around Christmas time. They have a melt-in-your-mouth quality and a delicate almond flavor that is a wonderful addition to your holiday cookie repertoire. I think the baking sheets make a big difference and always recommend the sheets that are air-filled. These baking sheets help achieve even baking. You do need to refrigerate the dough before baking so make sure to plan ahead a bit. The powdered sugar reminds me of freshly fallen snow right after a storm. A perfect excuse to cozy up with a hot cup of tea.
Yield about 30 cookies
- 2 ¼ cups flour (I love Bob’s Red Mill pastry flour)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup blanched almonds
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 14 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into small dice
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar for sifting, and a bit more if storing
In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks, vanilla and almond extracts. In a separate bowl, sift flour and salt together. In a food processor, grind almonds until very fine and add sugar to combine well and blend with almonds, pulsing several times. Add sifted flour and salt combination and pulse to incorporate thoroughly. With the motor running, slowly add pieces of butter through feed tube until dough is lumpy, but beginning to come together. Add yolk mixture and process for and additional 20 seconds, so dough forms. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces and roll out each piece into a 1 ½ inch thick log. Wrap each log in plastic and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Cut dough into 1/4 inch rounds. Using your fingers, pinch each round in the center to form a 2-3 inch crescent. Place crescents on prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart and refrigerate for about 15 minutes (this insures that cookies retain their shape in the baking process). Heat oven to 325 degrees. Bake crescents for about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking process until cookies are cooked through, but not yet browning on the edges. They may have cracks on top, but that is normal. Transfer parchment with cookies to a wire rack and allow cookies to cool for about 5 minutes. While still warm, sift confectioners’ sugar over cookies generously covering them with the powdered sugar. If storing cookies, place a bit of confectioners sugar in a ziplock bag and place cookies in the bag in single layer. Cookies store well for several days. Enjoy!