I love going to the library for recipes. I bet you are thinking, she looks in the cookbook section. In our library, though, the best place for a new recipe is the refreshments table where, when asked, island cooks set out baked delectables of all sorts. I’ve had terrific luck sampling and asking my neighbors to share their recipes.
Not that long ago, I went to the library to return a book and saw a plate full of confectioner’s-sugar-dusted crescent cookies that I didn’t even try to resist. They were so delicate and buttery and reminded me strongly of my Aunt Lee’s Snowballs, a special cookie she made at Christmas. Jennifer and Pat at the main desk said Diane Head was the local cook who had made the treats.
I called Diane, who said that she has made them all her life and the recipe was her mother’s.
“I used to make them for Christmas gifts,” said Diane. I wish I had been on her list.
Diane’s mom was one of those natural cooks who put together home-cooked dinners for her eight children, and always had a dessert ready. She made cookies and homemade rolls.
“I like to cook,” said Diane, “but I am not much of a baker.”
I’m not, either, but I’ve found with a few reliable recipes like this one, though, you can fool a lot of people, including yourself, about your baking ability.
Diane gives two cautions with the crescents. First, chill them very well. She puts them in the freezer for a while. Second, watch them very closely as they bake and take them out as soon as the bottoms look brown.
You can make small crescents that will bake more quickly and produce a higher yield, or you can form a more generously sized cookie, which may take as long as 20 minutes at the low oven temperature.
Yields five dozen small cookies
1 cup softened butter (or half butter and half shortening)
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup ground blanched almonds
1 2/3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Mix together the butter, sugar, and almonds. Sift together the flour and salt, and mix into the butter, sugar and nut mixture until a handful squeezed holds its shape. Chill the dough very well.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pinch off a piece of dough and roll it between your hands to make a “worm.” Place it on an ungreased baking sheet and form it into a crescent shape. Bake fourteen to sixteen minutes if small, longer if larger.
Bake only until they are set and brown on the bottom. Take from the oven and allow to cool slightly on the pan, then dip each cookie in the confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon. Let cool well before storing.
Looking for…lobster stew. I’ve been making it for years and it is pretty good, but I’d welcome any advice or tricks to creating a really wonderful stew. Ideas?