A 2nd Place Win For me in BookTrib’s Best of the West Holiday Cookie Contest

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BookTrib.com is “The first and only book-o-sphere”. I’m happy to be a small part of it all.

So close again! I’m quite flattered though to win a $40.00 Visa Gift Card for my absolute favorite Holiday cookie. Actually, I’ve run so many variations on this cookie, I’m not sure which combination of fruit and nuts I like the best. The template for the cookie has been in my family for years. My mom always called them “Italian Wedding Cookies”, but that is NOT what they are. They are an Italian cookie, but I can’t remember the name. Do you know? If so, please post a comment!

The usual component is a butter-pastry, with a walnut, brown sugar filling, and then dusted with powdered sugar. A few years ago, I made a variation on the recipe when I appeared on Jayni’s Kitchen for a holiday cookie show. I called them “Cherry Pecan Crescents.” That recipe later appeared in her cookbook.

Although the actual entry pictured above is “Orange-Cran Cherry & Spiced Walnut Cookies”, I’m going to provide for you the other. They look the same. Feel free to experiment with your fillings. The possibilities are endless!

(Note: Good quality butter is the quintessential ingredient to any baked item. 🙂 Land O’Lakes works great too!

Cherry Pecan Crescents

Dough:

1 cup unsalted Plugra European butter, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

2 egg yolks, lightly beaten (reserve whites)

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling

Filling:

2 1/4 cups chopped pecans

3/4 cup dried cherries

2/3 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest, finely grated

1 teaspoon cherry flavored extract

Powdered sugar for dusting

Dough: In a large mixing bowl, blend the softened butter, sour cream and egg yolks using a wooden spoon. Gradually add the flour, stirring with a spoon to incorporate. Using your hands, form the dough into a smooth ball. Divide the dough in half, making two 5-inch disks. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

In a food processor, pulse the nuts and cherries until fine, about 1 minute. Add the sugar, salt, milk, lemon zest and cherry extract and pulse a few time to blend. Cover and refrigerate if not using immediately.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly beat the reserved egg whites with a wire whisk or fork and set aside. Dust a rolling pin and a clean work surface with flour. Roll out the dough until very thin (as for pie crust). Cut circles using a 2 or 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter. Fill each circle with about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the nut filling. Lightly brush the inner edges of the dough circles with the egg white and fold the dough over the filling to seal. Press the edges with fork. Place the crescents on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until light gold. Remove and cool on a baking rack.

When completely cool, lightly dust the crescents with powdered sugar and store in the refrigerator. Makes about 5 dozen.

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