cookies in tin

I really don’t know if these are Viennese crescent cookies, or Mexican wedding cookies in crescent form, or Dutch wedding cookies, or what. But I decided to make them because I recently learned that my paternal grandfather’s family was from Austria (rather than Ireland), and because I think that when you become an adult you get to come up with your own holiday traditions. So we’re going with Viennese crescent cookies, as the New York Times recipe site does, and they’re now the cookie that I make every December 23rd. See how I did that? Decisions! Adulthood is fun.

I had to make a very conscious decision to feel Christmasy this year. I have never been very big on Christmas (I prefer Thanksgiving because all you do is eat and you don’t have to go to the mall the day before) but I’ve also found that being Scrooge is no fun, and so last week I went out, bought a strand of lights and a poinsettia (it’s hard to get a full tree home when you’ve only got a bike), picked up various snack foods and a few bottles of wine, had friends over to play board games, and generally got in the Christmas Spirit. Again: adulthood; decisions.

cutting board sugarcookies cutting board 

I made these to bring to my boyfriend’s family’s Christmas Eve dinner and they cleaned out the tin well before the evening was over, so I’m saying they were a success. They’re crumbly and delicate, and the powdered sugar makes them look very festive. They are also very simple and will allow you enough time to clean your gross bathroom before all of those people come over to play a game that you will not successfully learn because you’ve well exceeded your two-glasses-of-wine limit.


I’ve found, since deciding to get in the Christmas Spirit, that two of the main ingredients in Christmas Spirit are butter and red wine. Tomorrow I’m beginning a diet of nothing but green vegetables, water, and sleep. Right now, though, I’m having Viennese crescent cookies for brunch.


Prep time

Cook time

Total time


  • 1½ c chopped walnuts
  • 1 c confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 c (2 sticks) butter
  • ¾ c granulated sugar
  • 2½ c flour
  • 2 t vanilla

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a very sharp knife, chop the walnuts into small pieces. Pulse in a blender or food processor until evenly ground; set aside.
  3. Cut the butter into rough 1-inch chunks. Place in a bowl with the flour, vanilla, and granulated sugar. Add 1 cup of the ground walnuts.
  4. On a plate or in a shallow dish, combine the remaining ½ cup of walnuts and the confectioner’s sugar.
  5. Using your fingers, blend the flour mixture until it forms a dough. Form the dough into 1½-inch crescent shapes. You may want to intermittently put the dough and the crescents in the refrigerator; otherwise the butter will melt and the crescents will be difficult to form. Place on a cookie sheet about 1-inch apart, and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Allow the cookies to cool for about 5 minutes before coating them in the powdered sugar mixture. If you do this too soon, the cookies will break and the sugar will melt, so wait until they’re set.
  7. Makes about 50 cookies, depending on how large you make them.

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