MAKES 2 1/2 DOZEN
Buttery, sandy, biscuit-like are the words that come to mind when describing the wonderful taste and texture of these crescent-shaped almond cookies from Umbria that remind me of the Russian tea cakes that my mother used to make at Christmas time.
The secret to the texture of this cookie is to grind the almonds very fine, best done in a food processor. These are so delicate that care must be taken when removing the cookies from the baking sheet. This is where patience is definitely a virtue. Allow these to cool on the sheet for at least 10 minutes, otherwise they will crumble, and use a gentle hand when coating them in confectioner's sugar.
1 cup (4 ounces) blanched, slivered almonds
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup confectioner's sugar
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Grind the almonds with the sugar in a food processor until the almonds are the consistency of fine bread crumbs. Add the flour, salt, and butter to the bowl of the food processor and pulse two or three times. With the motor running, add the almond extract and continue processing until the mixture begins to leave the sides of the bowl and forms a soft ball of dough.
Carefully remove the dough from the bowl and gather it into a ball. To make the crescent shape, pinch off walnut size pieces of dough and roll them into 4-inch long ropes the thickness of your middle finger. Form a crescent or "C" shape and place them on the baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes. They should be firm to the touch when done, but not too browned looking. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet to firm up.
Sift the confectioner's sugar into a 1-quart bowl. Roll each crescent in the confectioner's sugar, coating them well.
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