German Almond Crescent Cookies

German Almond Crescent Cookies

The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Yield: 4 dozen
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
234 Calories
15g Fat
22g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 234
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 8g 38%
Cholesterol 31mg 10%
Sodium 108mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 25mg 2%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 74mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Mandelsichel, traditional German almond cookies, are simple shortbread cookies enriched with almond meal and shaped into a crescent, like many classic baked goods in Europe, which are said to emulate the Ottoman half-moon and celebrate the empire's greatness when the bakes were first developed. These cookies are a delightful treat at tea time and beautiful addition to any Plätzchenteller (cookie platter) during Advent and all through the Christmas and holiday season. Sometimes made on Christmas Eve, these cookies are left as a special treat for Santa Claus.

The key flavor in these cookies is from the almond meal. You can buy almond meal or flour at your local natural foods store or well-stocked grocery, or make your own. Optional almond extract enhances the flavor, and the cinnamon adds a nice complementary warming spice to the nutty almonds. Make bigger batches to give as gifts, or store in an airtight container for up to three weeks.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 cup butter, softened, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup blanched almonds, ground (or 1 cup almond meal)

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • Powdered sugar (or granulated vanilla sugar), for dusting, garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    German Almond Crescent Cookies ingredients

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  2. In a medium bowl, with the help of a hand whisk or standing mixer, cream the powdered sugar and butter until the mixture is fluffy.

    In a medium bowl cream the powdered sugar and butter

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  3. Add the vanilla, and the almond extract and cinnamon if using. Mix well.

    Add the vanilla, the almond extract and cinnamon to the butter mixture

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  4. Add the salt. Combine thoroughly.

    add salt to the butter mixture

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  5. With the help of a spatula, mix in the almond meal and flour.

    mix the almond meal and flour into the butter mixture

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  6. Using your hands, knead the mixture, which should be stiff and hard to work with.

    knead the dough mixture

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  7. On a lightly floured board or other work surface and with a well-floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/2-inch thick.

    roll out dough on a floured surface

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  8. Cut a circle with a biscuit cutter or round glass.

    Cut a circle with a glass

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  9. Move the glass or cutter over about 1 inch or more and cut another circle, which will result in two crescent shapes and an oval shape in the middle. 

    Move the glass or cutter over about 1 inch or more and cut another circle

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  10. Reuse the oval scraps, knead them, and roll out the dough again to cut more crescents or bake the ovals as they are if you'd prefer. Repeat the process until you've used all of the dough.

    combine the leftover dough and roll it out

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  11. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

    Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper

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  12. Place the crescents on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. The edges of the cookies should just be golden; keep an eye on the cookies as they brown fast and what you want is a pale and just-baked consistency through.

    cookies on parchment paper

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  13. Remove the cookies from the oven and, while still warm, dust them with powdered sugar or vanilla sugar and place them on a rack to cool completely. As they cool the consistency and bite will change.

    German Almond Crescent Cookies on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

Tips

  • When cutting out the cookies, try to keep them uniform in size so they will bake evenly.
  • These cookies are perfect for a cookie exchange, bake sale for the holidays, or as a homemade food gift.

How to Store and Freeze

  • These cookies will last in an airtight container or cookie tin for up to three weeks—if they don't get eaten first!
  • Go ahead and freeze these cookies. Place them in an airtight container or freezer bag and take them out a few at a time to snack on.