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 Christmas.
Buy almond meal or flour in a natural food store (sold commonly as Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal) and well-stocked grocery stores.
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.
- 3/4 cup/93 grams sugar (confectioners')
- 1 cup/210 grams butter (room-temperature)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup/112 grams almonds (blanched, ground)
- 2 1/4 cups/270 grams flour (all-purpose)
- Garnish: confectioners' sugar or granulated vanilla sugar for dusting
- Heat oven to 350F/180C. In a medium bowl, cream 3/4 cup/93 grams confectioners' sugar and 1 cup/210 grams room-temperature butter until fluffy. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional), 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional) and 1/8 teaspoon salt, and mix well.
- Knead in 1 cup/112 grams ground almonds and 2 1/4 cups/270 grams flour. The mixture will be stiff. Roll out on a lightly floured board or another work surface.
- 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.
- Place the crescents on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.
- 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.
- See another recipe for Vanillakipferln made with hazelnuts and formed into crescents. Also, if you like cookies with ground nuts, take a look at Mini Nußecken, which are little, layered cookie triangles, and these Spicy Linzer Cookies.