I was recently asked the question, "When and how did you start baking?" I had my hands full of cookie sheets I was shuffling in and out of the oven, a mixer buzzing in the background, and sticky hands that could hardly hold the phone. I remember rattling something off the top of my head, but afterwards I couldn't help but think there was a bit more to the story.
I wasn't always a cookie making machine. I started out as a nut cracker, yep a glorious nutcracker. My mom made cookies for family and friends every year. She had her preferred methods and let's just say wouldn't trust me with them until I had proven myself. She started me off with the tedious task of shelling nuts. I know it was a million years ago, but didn't they have shelled nuts back then? By the time I was a young teen I had moved up to mixing dough and shaping cookies. By the time I graduated from high school I had pretty much taken over for my mom.
Every year she made the same cookies and one of her favorites was Viennese Crescents. I adore them too, but I'm constantly writing new recipes, so sometimes these get edged out. That is until I get a gentle (or not so gentle) reminder I didn't include these in the containers I give away.
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Amaretto (optional)
1 cup ground pecans
2 cups powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, Amaretto, and pecans in a large bowl and use a pastry cutter to cut the ingredients together. You want the mixture to be in very small crumbs. I use my mixer sometimes and that works just as well.
Grab a tablespoon or so of dough and press together in your hands. Shape into logs and then bend into crescents. Place the cookies an inch or so apart on a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment or a silpat. Or you could butter the pan.
Bake for 15-17 minutes. They should start to brown slightly on the bottom and feel firm. Let cool for 5 minutes or so and roll the warm (but not hot) cookies in powdered sugar. Let cool completely on a rack and then roll them in powdered sugar again.
Makes about 36-48 cookies, depends on the size you make them. Store in an airtight container.
My apologies if you didn't get any of these this year, but now that you have the recipe there won't be any excuses for the harassing phone calls anymore.
I spent most of December churning out cookies over here. My kitchen was literally covered in cookies.
I did break for a few though to enjoy a fun day with my nieces and nephews decorating gingerbread and making ornaments.
Ted was so jealous of my new hat he wanted one of his own. What an attention hound!
Hope everyone got to enjoy the holiday and spending time with family and friends.