We make these pecan crescent cookies every year as a Christmas treat – the melt-in-the-mouth, nutty, crumbly treats will please any crowd.
You know a cookie is a classic when every person who tastes one says “Ermahgerd, gramma’s kerkies!” (translation: Oh my god, my grandmother used to make those cookies). Whether your grandmother was Italian, Jewish, Latin American, Scandinavian, or Asgardian, chances are, she made these cookies (Well, not my grandmother, who was a famously terrible cook).
Sometimes it’s just nostalgia that makes us swoon over a taste of the past but in this case, familiarity is unnecessary. These pecan crescent cookies are good. They have a melt-in-your-mouth shortbread-like texture and a lovely deep nuttiness. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas without them.
- Toast the pecans well, but don’t scorch them. I like to do them in a skillet (medium heat, tossing often, about 5-7 minutes until you can smell a nutty aroma). You can also do them in them oven on a baking sheet (325 degrees F, 10-15 minutes, turn them once).
- Make sure the dough is fully chilled before shaping the crescents. Also chill them at least 20 minutes after shaping, since they’ll warm up considerably as you handle them.
- They won’t really change color much in the baking process, but do make sure the very edges turn a light golden brown. 18 minutes might be enough, but don’t be afraid to leave in a few minutes longer if needed.
- Don’t try to sugar the pecan crescent cookies until they’ve completely cooled (overnight is best) or the sugar will melt. Sometimes I sugar them twice to make them extra perty. If you’re serving to fancy people, you’ll probably want to arrange them using tongs, since fingers will very easily melt the sugar.
- 2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
- 1 cup pecans, toasted
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Additional powdered sugar
- (Note: You'll need to prepare the dough, then chill for at least 8 hours.) Combine 1 cup all purpose flour, toasted pecans and salt in food processor. Using on/off pulses, finely chop pecans. Using a mixer, beat butter, ¾ cup powdered sugar and vanilla extract in large bowl until well blended. Add pecan mixture and remaining 1 cup flour and mix thoroughly. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
- After chilling the dough, preheat oven to 325°F. Working with 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, shape dough into 3-inch-long logs. Pinch ends of logs to taper and turn in slightly, forming crescents. Place cookies on un-greased baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart (cookies will not spread).
- Bake cookies until light brown around edges and firm to touch, about 18-22 minutes. Cool cookies 10 minutes on baking sheets. Roll cookies in additional powdered sugar. (Cookies can be prepared 2 weeks ahead. Store in airtight container.)