Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year with Cardamom-Walnut Crescents

A happy New Year's toast to all and a recipe for my favorite holiday cookies----cardamom-walnut crescents. They are a snap to make and the result is a tender, exotically spiced delicacy. The special ingredients are ground cardamom and vanilla sugar for the topping. I used Patricia Rain's prepared vanilla sugar that we carried at Scharffen Berger Chocolate when I worked there. Make sure the ground cardamom is fresh since it loses it's potent aroma after a year or so, and the cardamom is the whole point!

Vanilla Sugar and Cardamom for cookies

This year I baked the crescents on my new silicone baking sheet by Chef'n, a present from my niece's husband BJ, who works for the company. He revealed that it takes at least two years to develop and introduce a new product. The sheet worked especially well since I could bake on it and use it for cooling as the recipe requires.

Freshly baked cookies cooling on the silicone baking sheet

Cardamom-Walnut Crescents
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup walnuts halves
  • ¼ pound unsalted butter, chilled and cut in to 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon grated orange zest
  •  teaspoon salt

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine all dough ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until the dough resembles coarse meal. Then process continuously until it begins to gather together.
  2. Roll 2 teaspoons dough at a time into half moon shapes. Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet, 1 inch apart. Bake until firm to touch, about 18 to 20 minutes.
  3. When cookies are done, let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack. Sift the vanilla sugar over them immediately. Continue cooling for 15 minutes. The cookies may be stored in an airtight container up to 5 days.