German Almond Crescent Cookies

Almond crescent cookies
Getty Images/Kieran Scott/Photolibrary
Ratings (31)
  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 dozen cookies (16 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
217 Calories
17g Fat
15g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 dozen cookies (16 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 217
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 8g 39%
Cholesterol 31mg 10%
Sodium 91mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 5%
Protein 3g
Calcium 40mg 3%
*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.)

German almond crescent cookies (Mandelsichel cookies) are simple, shortbread cookies enriched with almond meal and shaped into a crescent. They are a delightful treat at tea time or any time or for your Plätzchenteller (cookie platter) during Advent and all through the Christmas season. You could even make them on Christmas Eve and leave them as a special treat for Santa Claus.

The crescent shape is often used in European Christmas baking to represent the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), which laid siege to Vienna in 1529 AD but was repelled by ordinary citizens. The battle marked the beginning of the decline of the Ottomans.

The key flavor in these cookies is from the almond meal. You can buy almond meal or flour in a natural food store (sold commonly as Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal) and well-stocked grocery stores. It's often in the baking aisle. If you like the almond flavor, be sure to add the almond extract for an added hint of almond taste. The optional cinnamon also adds a nice warming spice and complements the almond well.

If you like this recipe, you'll also love Vanillakipferln, which are similar cookies but made with hazelnuts instead of almonds and are also formed into crescents.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar (confectioners)
  • 1 cup butter (room-temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup almonds (blanched, ground) or 1 cup of almond meal
  • 2 1/4 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • Garnish: confectioners' sugar or granulated vanilla sugar for dusting

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 350F/180C. In a medium bowl, cream 3/4 cup of confectioners sugar and 1 cup room-temperature butter until the mixture is fluffy. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional), 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional) and 1/8 teaspoon salt, and mix well.

  2. Knead in 1 cup ground almonds or almond meal and 2 1/4 cups flour. The mixture will be stiff. With a well-floured rolling pin, roll out the dough onto a lightly floured board or another work surface.

  3. Cut a circle with a biscuit cutter or round glass. Move the glass or cutter over about 1 inch or more and cut another circle, leaving two crescent shapes and an oval shape in the middle. Reuse the oval scraps to cut more crescents or bake as is. Don't worry if your first crescents are not perfectly shaped. With a little persistence and practice, you will get it.

  4. Place the crescents on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. The edges of the cookies should just be golden. Do not let the entire cookie get brown. They should remain pale and just be baked through.

  5. While the cookies are still warm, dip the tops in confectioners' sugar or vanilla sugar and place on a rack to cool completely. Store in a dry container with a tight-fitting lid. This is how they are stored in Germany. In a sealed container, they will store for weeks.