It’s the most wonderful time of the year! There’ll be cookies for baking and egg nog for making and Christmas trees lit all a-glow …*
You may not know that I’ve been obsessed with Christmas music
for the past few months er, lately. Aside from the obvious fascination with a Biebs-Mariah collaboration (it’s Super Festive! Also, I’m so glad that birthing twins hasn’t adversely affected Mariah’s wardrobe), I’m very into the holiday offerings of Zooey Deschanel and of course, the Bubs, with some Trans-Siberian Orchestra thrown in for good measure. Yes, I am a joy to be around this time of year.
I do love the holiday season, even though none of the holidays are my own. Everything seems cheery (might one say merry?), wishes for peace and love and joy abound, and also, there are cookies. Lots and lots of cookies.
I’m not sure why Christmas is associated with cookies, but it’s a tradition I wholeheartedly support. Buttery shortbreads, rich chocolate treats, nut-based cookies, fruit-based cookies, bars, brownies, balls — the opportunities for
eating baking are endless.
These vanilla crescent cookies were borne out of a desire to share cookies in this time of giving. (Doesn’t that sound so noble? Sadly, in reality I was invited to a cookie swap and needed to bring something.) These vanilla crescent cookies caught my eye because they required only 5 ingredients and seemed foolproof, simple butter cookies formed into fun shapes and then coated in powdered sugar. They could be made in advance and were please-all’s — who can object to butter and vanilla and sugar?
I seem to be at my worst in the kitchen when the pressure’s on, and true to form, I went ahead and burned the cookies, ya know, because. I still haven’t figured out our oven (I blame the fact that it doesn’t open all the way) and while trying to do three things at once, I left the cookies in a few minutes too long. Thankfully there were just enough “nice” cookies to bring to the party, and the burnt ones weren’t half bad … not that I’d eat burnt cookies or anything. Never.
*There’s more where that came from: “Have a holly jolly Christmas, it’s the best time of the year. Say yum-o to dry Merlot and cookies, candy and sweets.” “Oh there’s cookies inside the oven, and the wine is all a-mullin.’ There’s plenty more food to go, so have some more, have some more, have some more.” I slay me.
Note: Not into butter cookies? (You weirdo). Try any one of these this holiday season: Dark Chocolate Meringues, Classic Christmas Sugar Cookies, Chewy Almond Cookies, Chocolate-Toffee Cracker Crunch, Coffee-Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies, Mini Chocolate Crackles, Sables, Regal Shortbread Cookies and my personal fave, Toasted Pecan Sandies.
Vanilla Crescent Cookies
Recipe from Food & Wine
– 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
– 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
– 1-1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
– 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
– a hefty pinch of salt
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2) Beat the butter with the 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until pale white, then add the vanilla. Mix in the flour and salt and beat until just combined.
3) On a lightly floured surface, roll level tablespoons of the dough into 3-inch tubes. Taper the ends and shape the tubes into crescents. Place the crescents on the baking sheets, about 1/2 inch apart.
4) Bake for 20-25 minutes until the bottoms are golden and the tops are pale blond, moving the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Let the cookies cool slightly.
5) Fill a small bowl with powdered sugar. While the cookies are warm, roll them in the sugar and transfer to a clean sheet of parchment paper to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.