The traditional way to prepare melt-in-your-mouth Polish pecan cookies -- ciastka kruche z orzechami (CHASST-kah KROO-hehz orr-zeh-HAH-mee) -- is to envelop a pecan half in the flaky dough.
My family took a shortcut by adding finely chopped pecans to the dough and forming it into crescent shapes. They usually were made only at Christmas and other very special occasions because they were time-consuming and pecans were (and still are) so expensive, thus we called them "Christmas crescents."
I've taken a further shortcut by scooping the dough and tamping it down with a glass dipped in flour so the cookie dough doesn't stick to it. The crescents have become full moons! They are similar to Russian tea cakes, also known as snowballs and Mexican wedding cakes.
Try my more economical Corn Flake Pecan Sandies Cookie recipe that uses half finely chopped pecans and half crushed corn flakes. And, for an even more economical and completely nut-free version, try my Butter Crunch Cookies recipe which is made with all corn flakes and no nuts at all.
- 8 ounces butter, softened
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups finely chopped pecans
- Confectioners' sugar for garnish
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, cream 8 ounces softened butter and add 5 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1 tablespoon water.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and add to creamed mixture, combining thoroughly. Add 2 cups finely chopped pecans until completely incorporated.
- Scoop onto ungreased baking sheets and tamp down with a glass dipped inall-purpose flour. OR, form walnut-size pieces of dough into crescent shapes. Bake 20 minutes.
- While still warm, roll in confectioners' sugar. When cookies are thoroughly cool, roll in confectioners' sugar again and store in an airtight container. These will keep several weeks.