The third batch of baking this year is a genuine family tradition. My girls are the fourth generation (all on the maternal side) to help with the baking and sugaring of the cookies. Almond shortbread is such a key element of my family’s Christmas baking that I swear Christmas wouldn’t arrive without them.
I warn you, the crescents are to die for. I will also warn you, they are a lot of work. This recipe is not for the faint of heart.
1 lb butter
1 cup granulated sugar
4 cups flour
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups ground almonds
Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla.
Add the flour in small batches.
When all the flour is blended, add the ground almonds. I find this recipe works best if you take whole blanched almonds and toast them slightly before grinding.
Roll out the dough to roughly 1/8 inch thickness and cut into crescents.
Bake at 350 for 10-14 minutes (depending on your cookie sheet and oven). Shortbread shouldn’t be brown, so as soon as the tips of the crescents start to darken it’s time to pull the cookies from the oven.
Let the cookies firm up on the sheet for approximately 4 minutes then carefully lift them into a container suitable for sugaring.
Once the cookies have been sugared, allow them to cool fully on a wire rack.
We’ve learned from experience not to put one cookie tray into the oven immediately following the removal of the first. It takes time to sugar the cookies without breaking them, and if you put the next tray in it’ll be coming out before you have the first tray sugared.
Oh, by the way, this recipe makes about 8 dozen cookies…
Nom nom nom.