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Nov 4, 2012 01:52 PM

Pecan Crescent Cookies .. Do you have a favorite recipe?

I just made some and the recipe I tried does not mention anything about refrigerating the dough before shaping and baking (I've now noticed that other recipes rec. this). Had a hard time handling dough and the recipe said it made 6 dozen cookies and mine only filled up 1 1/2 cookie sheets.

This recipe called for white sugar and powdered sugar for dusting later; other recipes call for all powdered sugar.

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  1. At Christmas, I make almond crescent cookies. Tedious to shape, delicious to eat. Do you think that this is similar? I used the recipe from the New York Times cookbook. The introduction says that this is a traditional holiday cookie from Vienna, and he even calls it "Viennese Crescent Cookies."

    1. What is the receipe you are using?
      Is it similar to this one for Mexican wedding cakes?


      1. Cooks Illustrated nailed this recipe.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Becca Porter

          Can you paraphrase the recipe? Do you refrigerate the dough before shaping and baking?

            1. re: Becca Porter

              My second batch, I used the CI recipe, twice the amt of pecans .. liked it much better. Mine took about 25 min instead of the suggested 19 min. Also, CI did not say to refrigerate the dough before shaping; I think that's a necessary step.

              1. re: walker

                I never refrigerate the dough and produce thousands of them a year.

                1. re: chefj

                  When I was rolling them in my hands, they became too soft, sticky. How do you do it?

                  1. re: walker

                    Use cooler butter? Room temp really means 60 or so.

                    1. re: walker

                      Our dough is never sticky. More like play dough.
                      I am pretty sure that this is the Ratios we use
                      2.5 C AP flour
                      1 C Butter
                      .5 C Powdered Sugar
                      .5 tsp Salt
                      1.5 C Toasted Cooled Chopped Nuts
                      Vanilla and/or Bitter Almond Oil

          1. Mexican Wedding Cakes and Vennese Crescents are the same except for the shape and the nuts used; the first uses pecans and the second one almonds. Both nuts should be toasted first.

            I have discovered over many years of baking that putting powdered sugar IN the cookie dough gives the cookie an undesirable chalkiness.

            5 Replies
            1. re: sandylc

              The Viennese Crescent recipes I've found call for pecans. I got the toasted, unsalted pecan pieces from TJ and they worked out just fine, did not have to fool around with toasting nuts myself.

              1. re: walker

                I'm old (50s) and they always used to be almond. In fact, my old recipes call them Viennese Almond Crescents. I just did a quick google and found pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, "nuts", and almonds. Things do evolve in cuisine, much to our benefit! I wonder how they are with macadamias, or maybe brazil nuts? I once had a fabulous meringue dessert that had salted brazil nuts in it.

                Off-topic, I have been curious about the use of pecans in Europe - I don't often see pecans in French cookbooks, for example, and I don't recall seeing any in the baked goods on my one measly trip there years ago.

                Sunshine, are pecans used much in France?

                1. re: sandylc

                  Maybe pecans are more a USA thing. My son-in-law is from India and he sends various nuts to his relatives there (sends with friends who are going to India on vacation) and pecans are something they never have available there. I've never seen avocados in India, either, wonder if they are hard to grow there. You'd think somewhere in that big country there would be the right conditions for growing avocados and with so many vegetarians there, you'd think they'd really catch on.

                  1. re: sandylc

                    I sub in half chopped slivered Almonds in Mexican Wedding Cookies/Russian Tea Cakes/Viennese Crescents.
                    It gives A really great crunch that Pecans alone do not.

                  2. re: walker

                    Interesting, though, at the bottom of my Google search in the suggested related searches, almond is the only nut listed:

                    Searches related to viennese crescents

                    make viennese vanilla crescents

                    viennese vanilla crescents cookies

                    vanilla crescents recipes

                    viennese crescent holiday cookies

                    viennese almond crescent cookies

                    viennese crescents recipe

                    viennese crescent cookies

                    viennese waltz

                    So, there is historical precendence for the cookie having almonds rather than other nuts.

                2. Mexican Wedding Cakes, etc.

                  15 oz. (3 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
                  1 1/2 t. vanilla extract (or almond if desired)
                  1 cup granulated sugar
                  6 oz. (1 1/3 cups) toasted, finely ground nuts (typically pecans)
                  1/8 t. salt
                  18 oz. (4 1/2 cups) unbleached flour
                  powdered sugar for dusting

                  Oven 350 degrees.

                  Cream butter, extract, granulated sugar. Mix in nuts. Stir salt into flour, then add, stirring only to combine.

                  Roll into balls (1 1/4-inch cookie scoop) and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.

                  15-18 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on racks. After cool, sift powdered sugar generously over the cookies.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sandylc

                    This sounds similar to my reicipe, too, and they're the 1st to disappear from my annual Christmas cookie tray (well, bunches disappear before they ever make it to the tray....my favorite cookie!). I've used various nuts, but have settled on pecans (altho' macadamias weren't bad atall)