This Easy Crescent Cookies recipe with walnuts and powdered sugar makes delicious crescent shape Christmas cookies that melt in your mouth. Enjoy these traditional cookies throughout the holiday season!
Christmas crescent cookies are very similar to Russian tea cakes or Mexican wedding cookies. Instead of shaping the dough into round balls, you form it into a crescent shape.
My Walnut crescent cookies are modeled after my grandmother's recipe for Polish walnut crescents, or nut horns, but are a lot easier, with a shorter prep time and no eggs.
Grandma called them Polish or Slovak walnut cookies, though many European cultures have a variation of this dessert. You may have heard of the traditional Austrian cookies, Viennese crescent cookies, for example.
You only need a few simple ingredients for this easy crescent cookies recipe. They should be easy to find at the grocery store, and probably in your pantry as well!
- Butter -- I use salted butter
- Powdered sugar -- confectioner's sugar
- Vanilla extract
- All purpose flour
- Ground walnuts
- Ground cinnamon
How to Make Walnut Crescent Cookies
Before you start baking, you need to crush or grind your walnuts, if you don't have already ground ones.
We usually use a food processor to do this, but you could also put the walnuts in a zip-top bag and crush them with a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin.
To make the crescent cookies, first cream the butter and powdered sugar together in a large bowl.
You can use a hand mixer on medium speed or stand mixer for this--just make sure that the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Then, add the vanilla extract.
Next, gradually add the flour, stirring well.
Next come the walnuts, cinnamon, and salt. Make sure to mix well after adding each ingredient--the dough will be thick.
Instead of mixing in each ingredient by itself, you could add all the dry ingredients to the cream mixture at once.
I've made the cookie dough both ways, and they turn out fine each time!
Again, just make sure to stir thoroughly!
Once the dough is formed, it's time to start forming the crescent cookies!
First, grab enough dough to make a 1-inch ball. Then, shape dough into a log by rolling the ball between your hands.
Make the dough log into a crescent shape by gently pinching the sides. If you need to, you can form the shape of the dough while it's on the cookie sheet--it can sometimes be hard to do it all in your hands!
Place the crescent cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet, lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
They shouldn't spread much, so you don't have to worry about leaving too much space between them.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F and bake cookies in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until the edges are firm and the bottom of the cookies are slightly brown.
Once they're done baking, allow the cookies to cool down a bit on the baking tray or a wire rack.
When the walnut crescents are cool enough to touch with your hands, it's time to cover them in powdered sugar!
You can keep the powdered sugar in a shallow bowl and dip the warm cookies into that, flipping them until well coated with sugar.
Or, you can put the powdered sugar into a large zip top bag, drop the crescents into it, and shake the bag gently.
At the very end, sprinkle a little more powdered sugar over the tops of the cookies.
he result is some rich, buttery cookies that melt in your mouth and aren't overly sweet!
One way to vary this classic Christmas cookie is to use different nutty flavors. Almond crescent cookies and pecan crescents are also festive and delicious!
If you're making almond crescents, you could substitute the vanilla extract for almond extract, for even more of that nutty almond flavor.
If you don't want to go through the trouble of forming crescent shapes, you can just roll the cookie dough into balls, as you would for a typical Russian tea cake.
How to Store
Keep your walnut crescent cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. It helps to line whatever cookie jar you use in wax paper or parchment paper, as the powdered sugar can be sticky!
You can freeze the crescent cookie dough for later. It freezes very well!
Just wrap the raw dough in plastic wrap, and place in a freezer bag for up to a month. I prefer to freeze the cookie dough in 2 to 3 portions so that it thaws easier, but use your judgement here.
Easy Crescent Cookies
- 1 cup butter 2 sticks
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups ground walnuts
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and powdered sugar together until smooth and creamy
- Stir in the vanilla extract
- Gradually add the flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each cup.
- Add the walnuts, cinnamon and salt, and mix well. Dough will be thick
- Form the dough into 1-inch balls, then roll into log shape and form into crescent shape
- Place crescents on un greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart
- Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are firm. Allow to cool down enough to handle
- Dip cookies into powdered sugar, and place on cookie rack or clean cookie sheet until completely cooled
Nutrition information is estimated. Please do your own calculation to fit special diets.
Recipe first published in 2013 and updated in 2021
Don't these look good--they're one of my all-time favorite holiday cookies! I love simple, uncomplicated recipes, and this is not only easy, but the cookies taste great too!
They are perfect with a cup of hot chocolate on Christmas Eve! If you're looking for a quick sweet treat to make for Christmas, this walnut crescent cookie recipe is the thing for you!
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