Russian Crescent Cookies

Christmas in the Nation’s Capital is nothing if not traditional.

I love it.

Running through the D.C.’s many little neighborhoods, you catch Christmas trees in the windows, wreaths – big and small – and every now and then, someone goes all out:IMG_3378

Just like that little present of a home, I have a bit of a gift to share, a tradition if you will.IMG_3455

My great-grandparents were bakers, ran a bakery. Up at the crack of dawn (before, really) working by the pound of flour, keeping their best recipes on index cards. Visiting my granny’s home meant a breakfast of kuchen (or shredded wheat by the slab – at 6, and honestly 26, I prefer the pastry). One of her Christmas cookie legends, I’m sharing with you today – splattered, edited index cards and all.

Plan this one for a Christmas movie night. Good things take time, and these cookies require a couple of hours of chilling.

One more note – there’s really nothing low-fat or low-cal about these. If you’re looking for a healthy option, maybe only have one? Good luck…

What you’ll need:

1 cup butter (that’s 2 sticks. yes.)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour (or gf flour), sifted (honestly, it matters)
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Do ahead:

  • Mix butter, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and pecans
  • Sift in flour
    • If you don’t own a sift – I definitely don’t – sprinkle the flour in a little at a time, whisking while you do so. Worked just fine for me but I bet the cookie is lighter if you sift.
  • Chill at least 2 hours (go watch your movie, go to dinner, your holiday party etc.)

Bake Time:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degreesIMG_3449
  • Working with cold dough, shape small clusters into a crescent shape, pinching, tucking and gently pushing so you don’t break off the fragile ends IMG_3452
  • Place in rows on a baking sheet – no need to grease here, you know how much butter is already in these little guys
  • Bake for 10 minutes
  • Once cooled, roll in powdered sugar IMG_3474


Have a favorite family tradition of your own? Leave a comment – I’d love to hear about it!


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