This is the very first recipe that my beloved Tía María taught me to make when I was a little girl. Years later, I taught it to my daughters. It’s perfectly suited to make with children, who can roll them into crescents or into balls. The dough is entirely mixed by hand. Chilling the dough and the cookies before baking ensures that if little hands have overworked the dough (melting a bit of the butter in the process), the cookies will retain their shape as they bake.
Makes 26 crescents
1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ c confectioners’ sugar, divided
1 t vanilla
2 ¼ c all-purpose flour
¾ c finely chopped almonds
¼ t salt
- In a large bowl, combine the butter, ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar, and the vanilla; knead it with your fingers, until smooth. Stir in the flour, almonds, and salt, kneading it until it comes together into a ball. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours).
- Fit two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- To shape the cookies, take a generous tablespoon of dough and roll it into a log. Place it on the prepared cookie sheet and shape it into a crescent by pressing the edges and bending them slightly. Repeat until all are done.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Chill the cookies for 15-20 minutes. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes or just until they begin to show a slight golden color on the bottom edges (don’t let them get too golden or they’ll burn). Let them cool on the sheets for 2-4 minutes.
- Place the remaining sugar in a large plate; roll the cookies in the sugar and place them on a cookie rack to cool completely.
Sandra Gutierrez is author of “The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes that bring together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South (University of North Carolina Press.)” which is available for purchase here.