Walnut Crescents

These walnut crescents, made with walnuts and powdered sugar, are elegant, are simple to make, and make great Christmas cookies or gifts.

A wire rack with eight walnut crescent cookies that have been covered with powered sugar

This recipe isn’t at all Georgian, but since they use walnuts a lot in cooking in Georgia, I thought I’d borrow from the local cupboard, as it were, to make a light cookie meant to be eaten with coffee at the end of a substantial meal.–Nigella Lawson

LC Crescent Moon Note

Come Christmastime throughout central Europe, you’ll happen upon cookies shaped in the fashion of a crescent moon in practically every country. We’re still researching this and getting our facts aligned in terms of the significance of the shape, but while we do that, won’t you help yourself to this recipe?

Walnut Crescents

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 50 M
  • Makes 24
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  • 1 1/2 cups shelled walnuts
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 9 tablespoons (4 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
  • Pinch salt


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  • 2. Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat just until they give off a nutty aroma, which ought to take no more than a few minutes. Dump the walnuts on a plate and let cool to room temperature.
  • 3. Blitz the walnuts in a food processor until pulverized. Return the walnuts to the plate. Pour the sugar into the food processor and blitz just to break up any lumps. Now add the soft butter to the sugar and process again to combine. Then add the flour and salt and process yet again. Open the lid of the processor, scrape down the sides, then return the walnuts to the processor and pulse just until everything is combined.
  • 4. Turn the dough onto your work surface. It will be sticky yet firm enough to mold with your hands. If it’s too mushy, wrap it in plastic wrap or place it in a resealable plastic bag and toss it in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
  • 5. To shape the walnut crescent dough into half moons, flour your hands and take scant tablespoons of the dough. Roll them into sausages about 2 1/2 inches long, and then slightly flatten the sausage as you curl it gently to form a crescent. Place the crescents on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • 6. Bake the crescent cookies for up to 25 minutes, although start checking them after 15 minutes. When done, the cookies will still be quite soft but the tops will be firm and beginning to go blondly brown. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes before you transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Be careful, as the cookies will be very fragile.
  • 7. Push some confectioners’s sugar through a fine sieve into a shallow bowl to remove any lumps. Dredge the cooled cookies in the confectioners’ sugar and turn to coat them thickly. We think you can take it from here.

Recipe Testers Reviews

Crescent cookie recipes usually turn out dry but with good flavor. But this one turned out really well. I only baked the cookies for 15 minutes–per the recipe, check these early or they'll end up too dry. I was able to mold the dough right after mixing even though it was quite soft. I went ahead and put the shaped cookies in the fridge for 20 minutes before baking. (You can use this technique with other cookies, too. This helps minimize spreading.) When taking them out to dredge in the powdered sugar, they were very delicate and became less so with time (as they cooled). The only problem was that the last few did not seem to have the confectionner's sugar stick as well.

I tried one cookie on the day these were made and it was great. I stored them overnight in a container and the next day I packaged some for my husband to bring into work and some for visitors from elsewhere and I tried one myself. The reviews were all thumbs up.


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