Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Viennese Crescents - The cookie that started it all.


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 doughs 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.

Viennese Crescents
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.


I also decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own darn crown, since the one I requested from the Queen has never arrived.  I think she is ignoring me or something.  I attached it to a hat so I can wear it to the grocery store.


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.

Gina

14 comments:

  1. o my Gina, look at the whole spread of cookies!
    I hope you had enjoyed your X'mas!

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  2. It's a lovely story :) I hope you had a great Christmas.

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  3. Gina,
    I must be special, because I got the Viennese Crescents in my box this year, and they were wonderful.

    Hugs! I hope that yo and your oven get a rest:)

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  4. It's so cool that you wanted to help your mom. Kudos to you. My mom tried to get me to work with her in the kitchen, but I was a typical ornery teen and moped around until she got tired of it and shooed me out. Regret that one. Your Christmas cookie array is truly awesome. I'll bet your whole neighborhood smells delicious thanks to your kitchen.

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  5. You brought back great memories for me; I made Viennese Crescents every year. Love that you were helping mom by cracking the nuts; Your cookies are glorious.
    Rita

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  6. You crack me up, you nut! :) I just loved seeing all the cookies you've created during the holidays. Some are our traditional favorites too. My mom made this same crescent recipe for years and I've also continued to make them along with some other family favorites every year. We eat less of them, but for some reason I just still feel the desire to keep the tradition going. Even so, you still deserve the award for "nuttiest"...you are THE cookie queen! Love the pic of your sweet little Ted. His expression looks about how I feel right now - ha! Cookie hangover?!!! ;) Love you and wishing you a beautiful new year!!!

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  7. Thanks everyone, glad you enjoyed my cookie extravaganza this year. Ha Ha Lorraine, Ted kinda looks like how I feel today too.
    -Gina-

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  8. Wow, what a terrific spread of cookies! You really go to town for Christmas. Good recipe for the Viennese crescents. We have one that's pretty similar, and haven't done it for several years. Next year we'll do it for sure!

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  9. Your mom must be so proud! I look forward to your cookies every holiday season and am so glad to read others do to. You're spreading cookie joy wherever you go :) Happy New Year to your gorgeous family!

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  10. It was really nice to hear how you started baking, Gina! I hope I am not too late to start baking. 2013 will be a serious baking or at least that's what I'm hoping to do once both kids are in school for a longer time! :) Happy New Year to you and your family!

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  11. Cookie making machine indeed! Beautiful cookies sweetie!
    Wishing you a most amazing 2013!

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  12. You certainly ear your Cookie Queen title Gina. After about a day I would probably give up. Your cookies sound really good! Thanks for sharing.

    Happy New Year and best wishes for a fantastic 2013!

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  13. I really enjoyed seeing all the photos of your Christmas cookie spread-i'm so impressed with your baking skills, my dear ;-)

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