Ask for the moon for Christmas
Reduce, reuse, recycle seem like wise precepts to follow. This week, I’d like to recycle one of my favorite cookie recipes.
I still have my mother’s faded yellow recipe clipped from The York Dispatch. It probably appeared sometime in the 1970s.
The original title is Christmas Crescent Cookies, but somewhere along the line, everyone in the family began calling them Moon Crescents.
Each December, my mother began baking cookies for the holidays. When we arrived for Christmas, there were huge cans filled with all types: beautifully decorated cut-outs, chocolate chip, date and nut, and many others.
Much to my mother’s chagrin, we would dig through the cans looking for the Moon Crescents.
Because the recipe used two cups of pecans, they were the “expensive” cookies. We usually devoured a whole batch in less than a day.
Moon Crescents are a simple cookie to make. They have only a few ingredients: flour, butter, pecans, sugar and vanilla.
There is no tedious rolling out of dough or cutting into special shapes. They are basically a shortbread cookie with nuts.
The crescents’ rich flavor comes from the butter, so don’t be tempted to use a substitute. Another caveat is to finely chop the pecans. If there are large nut pieces in the dough, the cookies will break apart when you attempt to form them into the crescent shape.
The recipe below makes about 30 cookies. If you enjoy them as much as my family, you might be tempted to make a double batch.
1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
5 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon water
2 cups unbleached flour
2 cups finely chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon salt
About 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
Using an electric mixer, cream butter. Beat in sugar, vanilla and water. Sift the flour and salt together and stir into the mixture. Add pecans and mix thoroughly.
Using portions about the size of a walnut, roll into a small log and then bend slightly to form into a crescent shape.
Place cookies about 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet. They don’t spread out.
Bake in a 325-degree oven about 20 minutes. The tops should stay white; the bottoms, slightly brown.
Cool slightly. While still warm, roll in powdered sugar.
— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section.