1990s Recipes + Menus

Viennese Vanilla Crescents

October 1991
Ground hazelnuts give these rich crescents their depth, but vanilla-scented sugar is the touch that takes them to a whole new height, in keeping with the spirit of Vienna. For even shapes, make dough ropes about 1/3 inch thick.

This is just one of Gourmet’s Favorite Cookies: 1941-2008. Although we’ve retested the recipes, in the interest of authenticity we’ve left them unchanged: The instructions below are still exactly as they were originally printed.
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) cold unsalted butter, cut into 24 pieces
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, ground fine in an electric coffee or spice grinder
  • 2 cups vanilla confectioners’ sugar
  • In a food processor or bowl blend together the flour, the plain confectioners’ sugar, and the salt, add the butter, and blend the mixture until it forms a dough. Add the hazelnuts and blend the dough well. Form the dough into a ball, flatten it slightly, and chill it, wrapped in wax paper, for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Roll walnut-size pieces of the dough on a smooth surface into ropes about 1/3 inch thick, cut the ropes into 2 1/2-inch lengths, and roll the ends lightly to narrow them. Bend the lengths to form crescents, arrange the crescents about 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets, and bake them in batches in the middle of a preheated 350° F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are pale golden.
  • While each batch of the crescents is baking, sift enough of the vanilla confectioners’ sugar into a jelly-roll pan to cover the bottom. While the crescents are still warm, transfer them carefully with a metal spatula to the pan and sift some of the remaining vanilla confectioners’ sugar over them. Let the cookies cool completely before transferring them to storage tins. Makes about 100 cookies.
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