Observing these cookies cooling on a rack in my kitchen, my neighbor Kathy Kerr said, “My mother made cookies that look just like that. They were called Walnut Crescents.” And since the example on the rack were just exactly that, we made tea and ate some right then and there.
Buttery, nutty, slightly sweet cookies are perfect for me. Icing-laden sugar cookies, while often beautiful to look at, are way too sugary for my taste. Plus, I find I have little patience with rolling and cutting dough and then carefully decorating cookies. So I love cookies like these from the shortbread family that require merely a roll of dough between my hands. Plus the cardamom in this recipe must appeal to that fragment of my ancestry that hails from Sweden.
I pulsed the walnut pieces in my food processor until I saw fairly finely chopped mixture. A few larger pieces are all right.
Making the dough is a matter of beating the butter and sugar until it is quite fluffy, then add the flour and nuts. It will make a ball of dough, though for a while there I didn’t think it would. You can do the whole thing in a food processor if you want.
If you make these early in the month, you can store them in a cookie tin with a tight lid. They will keep very nicely right into the holidays. Freezing is not necessary as long as they are in the tin and stored somewhere relatively cool. In fact, freezing kind of spoils some cookies, and if they are left too long in the freezer, they pick up other non-cookie odors or flavors.
This batch made about forty cookies, which is about thirty too few. Double the recipe. Or make it twice. They go fast.
Makes about 40 cookies
¼ cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup walnut pieces
1 stick of butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place all ingredients except the confectioner’s sugar in a mixer bowl or food processor. Beat or pulse the ingredients until it makes ball of dough.
3. Roll about an inch diameter ball of dough between your hands and place in half moon shapes on a cookie sheet about an inch apart.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until firm to the touch.
5. Take them out of the oven for about 5 minutes then transfer them to a cooking rack.
6. Use a small sieve or a sifter to sprinkle confectioners’ sugar over them while they are still warm.
7. When they are cold, store them.