Thursday, December 20, 2012

Almond Crescents

My favorite Christmas cookies. 
Though lately I've been making them for King's Day, January 6th,
and hiding a bean in one of the cookies for a lucky eater to find
and then be crowned King for the Day.
The last sweet taste of our Christmas holiday
before ordinary life engulfs us once more.

Preheat oven to  350°F.


¾ cup powdered sugar

Add the sugar gradually and cream with:

1 cup butter


2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup almond meal

Knead in by hand until completely mixed:

2½ cups sifted flour

Chill the dough and roll it to a 1- inch thickness.  Cut with crescent cookie-cutters.  Bake on parchment papered cookie sheet at 350° until slightly golden – about 15 minutes.  When baked, dip in:

powdered sugar

Limey Lambs

You will need a lamb-shaped cookie cutter.  Otherwise you will have to make Limey Stars or Limey Hearts or Limey Christmas Trees, which should taste just as delicious but not be quite so alliterative.

½ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons finely grated lime zest
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾  cups, plus 2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt

for tossing, also for rolling out
1 cup powdered sugar for dusting
pinch salt

  1. Whisk granulated sugar and lime zest.  Add powdered sugar. 
  2. Cream together butter and sugars.
  3. Add lime juice and vanilla.
  4. Sift together flour, cornstarch, and salt.  Add to butter mixture.
  5. On work surface, sprinkled lightly with powdered sugar-salt mixture halve dough.  Flatten each half into a 10-inch disk and wrap each in plastic.  Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 325°.
  7. Working with 1 half at a time, roll out dough on parchment paper to ⅛ inch thick.  Cut shapes from dough with cookie cutter.  Space 1 inch apart on baking sheet lined with parchment.  Wrap scraps in plastic and freeze 30 minutes; re-roll and cut shapes.
  8. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until barely golden, about 10 minutes (13 minutes if baked at 300°).  Let cool slightly, on wire rack 8-10 minutes.
  9. While still warm, gently toss each cookie in small bowl of powdered sugar-salt mixture, coating both sides.
  10. Cookies can be refrigerated in airtight containers up to 2 weeks.  Can be frozen.