German Vanilla Crescent Cookies – tender, melt-in-your-mouth, buttery cookies with ground walnuts.
Besides Custard Cream Pie Slices and Walnut Cream Cake, these German Vanilla Crescent Cookies were my mom’s signature dessert. The recipe is handed down for at least 4 generations, as far as I know. All of her friends and guests were delighted when she would serve them on her Christmas and Easter table.
I remember her making 4 batches of the cookies at once, mixing them in a large enameled vessel. She would get close to 300 perfectly shaped small hand rolled crescent cookies. She would put them in several tin boxes and they would keep for weeks in cold pantry. Actually, they would even get better after few days. They are very crunchy and crumbly when they are freshly baked, while after a few days they simply melt in your mouth.
I’m not nearly that patient. One batch is more then enough for me, and my cookies are larger then hers, to speed up the process.
- My mom noted that, when she would double the recipe, she would use 1 whole egg and 1 egg white.
- Don’t make the cookies too thin, or they will break easily.
- When German Vanilla Crescent Cookies get out of the oven, they are extremely delicate and will crumble if you handle them. Be sure to wait for 5-10 minutes before rolling them in powdered vanilla sugar.
- If you cannot buy vanilla sugar, you can easily make your own simply by placing vanilla beans in a container of powdered sugar. Let it sit for a few weeks in a sealed jar. Discard vanilla beans before use.
The other way of making vanilla sugar is by mixing 1 cup of powdered sugar with 1/2 Tbsp vanilla powder.
German Vanilla Crescent Cookies - tender, melt-in-your-mouth, buttery cookies with ground walnuts.
- 350 g (2 3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
- 200 g (16 Tbsp; 1 cup minus 2 Tbsp) cold unsalted butter
- 80 g (6 Tbsp) granulated sugar
- 100 g (3/4 cup) ground walnuts
- 1 egg white
- 100 g (1 cup) powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla sugar
Place flour, butter, granulated sugar, ground walnuts and the egg white in a bowl of your food processor (you can also mix ingredients by hand or using hand mixer). Pulse until the mixture resembles large crumbs.
Turn the mixture onto the floured surface and knead the dough until it comes together. Shape it into a log and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill the log in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Roll small piece of dough into a 3 inch rope and shape it into a crescent. Repeat with remaining dough. Place on an ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 175 C (375 F) for 10 minutes. Cookies should not turn brown.
Let cool on cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar mixed with vanilla sugar while cookies are still warm. Store them in an air tight container.