Thursday, December 07, 2006

Victoria Bylin: Cookies!

As long as I can remember, someone in my family has made almond crescent cookies at Christmas. My grandmother started the tradition, probably back in the 1930s when she had small children of her own. She made cookies by the hundreds, maybe even the thousands, and gave them to friends as gifts.

Somewhere along the line, I picked up the tradition. I love to bake, but I don't make the cookies the same way my grandmother did. She used a hand-cranked meat grinder to turn the almonds into a coarse powder. I use a blender. She set the butter on the counter to soften. I soften it in the microwave, about 10 seconds on power 2.

The world has changed, but the cookies are still delicious!

Almond Crescents

1/2 lb. raw almonds (whole, unblanched)
1 lb. butter or margarine
1 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4 c. flour

Set the oven to 300 degrees. Soften the butter. If you do it in the microwave, go slow. If it turns to liquid, you have to start over with new butter. It should be creamy, not watery. Mix the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and mix well. Next, grind up the almonds. I use an old blender. The goal is to turn the almonds into a coarse powder. Add the almonds and mix well. Add the flour and keep mixing. The dough will be thick. At some point, I give up on the spoon and squish it with my fingers. Shape the cookies into crescents. Mine are roughly the size of my index finger, maybe a bit bigger. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let them cool, then roll in powdered sugar. Makes about 8 dozen

Santa knows all about these cookies. If you leave a few out on Christmas Eve, he'll appreciate it.

1 comment:

Kate Bridges said...

Hi Victoria! Wow, hundreds if not a thousand cookies? That's amazing! Sadly, I don't bake, but I do like to cook meals. My hubby has the sweet tooth, so he's the one who does the baking with our young daughter. Your recipe sounds delicious.