Viennese crescents

December 10, 2008
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Makes about 45

Buttery almond crescents are traditional Christmastime treats in Austria; they're especially good made with vanilla-scented sugar, as they are here.


1 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean (cut into 3/4-inch pieces)
1. In a food processor, combine the sugar and vanilla bean.

2. Work the mixture for 1 to 2 minutes or until the bean is finely chopped. (Discard any bits larger than the size of chocolate sprinkles.)


1 1/4 cups (about 6 1/2 ounces) whole blanched almonds
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. In a food processor, combine the almonds and 1/2 cup of the vanilla sugar. Work the mixture until the nuts are finely ground.

2. In an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the ground almond mixture and beat until well blended.

3. With the beaters set on low speed, mix in the flour and salt just until thoroughly combined. Using your hands, work the dough into a ball. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

4. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Break off clumps of dough a little larger than 1 inch in diameter. Squeeze or roll them into little logs about 2 1/2 inches long. Place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. With your fingers, shape the dough into crescents with tapered ends.

6. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Let sit for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

7. Place the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar in a shallow bowl. While the crescents are still warm, gently roll them in the sugar to coat them; cool completely on the rack. Adapted from "Christmas Cookies"

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