I was into holiday baking all the way. As I mentioned before, I prefer crispy cookies and “dry” cakes rather than the creamy ones for Christmas… probably because if they are in a cookie form, you can get one every time you pass by them. How convenient is that? But this year, aparently, I am also into those crescent shaped cookies dusted in icing sugar.
Similar to my vanilla crescent cookies, these cookies are crispy and so rich in flavour. They have a dash of cinnamon, orange zest, tiny chocolate and almond chunks and are so nice and crispy from all the butter and powdered sugar. Whenever I plan on glazing or dusting the cookies, I lower the amount of sugar I put into the actual cookie dough because I don’t like them overly sweet. Instead, I like all the flavour to come through – nutty almonds, spicy orange and of course, the warm sweetness of chocolate.
They really are a great treat. Plus, you can make the dough a few days ahead, refrigerate it or even freeze it and then shape the cookies whenever you have time. These cookies were actually first made for my best friend last year. She asked me if I could make almond cookies with chocolate chunks. Of course I could! And in my opinion, they turned out really great. I am telling you, they are a burst of Christmas flavour and extra chocolate never hurt anybody. Since there are no more excuses, check out the recipe and try them.
preparation time: about 2 hours 45 minutes, includes minimum time for cooling the dough
baking time: 10 – 14 minutes, 180°C (350 F)
Ingredients for the cookie dough:
50 g almonds
50 g chocolate (I used bittersweet)
200 g soft butter
70 g powdered sugar
1 whole egg
350 g all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
zest of 1/2 orange (make sure you are using organic oranges)
icing sugar for coating
1. Start by chopping the almonds and chocolate. Depending on the size of your cookies, they should be quite tiny so that you can form the crescents without breaking the cookies in half.
2. Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, cream together soft butter and powdered sugar. Once the mixture gets all fluffy and increases in volume, add a whole egg. Cream everything together well until the mixture is homogenous and frothy.
3. Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder and add them into the mixture of butter, sugar and eggs. Add orange zest and chopped almond and chocolate chunks. Now, using a spatula, your hands or an electric mixer fitted with a paddle or a hook attachment start putting the dough together. Don’t overmix it. If you are using an electric mixer, make sure it’s on low speed. As soon as everything gets well incorporated, stop mixing.
4. Form the dough into a log or a disc, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. If you are not planinng to bake all of the cookies at once, you could freeze the dough just the same.
5. Take refrigerated dough out of the fridge, and cut it into small equal pieces. Take each piece, roll it quickly to a small log and bend each end to form a crescent or a horseshoe. Put the cookies onto a prepared baking pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/350 F for about 10 -12 minutes. Also, I made these cookies smaller than my vanilla crescents so they baked shorter. They should get darker at the bottom and ever so slightly around the edges, but should not brown on the top. My ultimate test to see if they are done is when they start smelling from the oven and if you shake the pan front and back, the cookies will slide along rather than stay sticked to their place.
6. As soon as you take baked cookies out of the oven, do not move them anywhere, let them set on the baking pan for 5-10 minutes. They are crispy and fragile and therefore might crack if you try to move them immediately. This will give them a chance to harden slightly and will become easier to handle afterwards.
7. Dust them thoroughly with icing sugar while they are still warm. The warmth from the cookies will make icing sugar stick to them and will create a sweet coating. Enjoy them with a cup of tea or hot chocolate. Happy holidays everyone!