This is a recipe we’ve made every single year for Christmas since I was a little girl and I’ve always adored the crispy pecan shortbread texture paired with the sweet and fluffy powered sugar coating.
Annual Holiday Baking Tradition
All the ladies in my family including my mom, sister, nieces and nanny usually get together to do holiday cookie baking each year and nanny’s crescent cookies are a mainstay. Before my nanny passed, she would always help out by rolling all the cookies in powered sugar for us. And she was a hoot too. If we were not watching closely she would end up munching on cookies the whole time she was rolling them.
A Holiday Classic Made Healthy
My nanny’s traditional crescent cookies are made with white flour and butter. Over the years I’ve moved away from using regular white flour when baking so I’m really excited to have a grain-free, gluten-free version of these cookies to enjoy. You’ll notice in the recipe that the cookies can be made with organic butter, ghee or vegan butter. I opted to go the vegan route and used Earth Balance buttery sticks, which worked amazingly well. They’re delicious either way so feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
The best part is that these cookies are a pretty healthy option when it comes to holiday cookies because they’re low in calories, sugar and carbs! Each cookie has about 60 calories, 2 grams of sugar and 3 grams of carbs. Not too shabby!
Ingredients and Substitutions
These tasty little crescent cookies couldn’t be easier. They only require one bowl, six ingredients and about 30 minutes to whip up! Here’s what you need:
almond flour – look for fine almond flour instead of almond meal. The texture of almond flour is lighter and less coarse, which will lead to a better texture for the cookies. I wouldn’t recommend substituting a different flour as these are developed for almond flour specifically.
softened organic butter, ghee or vegan butter – I used Earth Balance butter to keep these vegan.
confectioners’ sugar – another name for powdered sugar. To make these lower in sugar and carbs you can use a product like Swerve confectioner’s sugar.
chopped pecans – you can sub in another nut like almonds or walnuts or leave the nuts out all together.
How to Make Crescent Cookies
Mix the dough – Mix almond flour, softened butter, 3 Tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract and salt in a small bowl until a dough forms. It will seem a little dry at first, but just keep mixing! Once combined, mix in chopped pecans. You can use your hands to help mix the pecans in if needed.
Scoop the dough – Roll tablespoons of the dough into a small log. Place the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 1 inch apart. Use your hands to shape the cookies into a crescent shape.
Bake – Bake the cookies for 20 minutes or until they start to turn light golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for about 5 minutes. Transfer them to a rack to cool 10 minutes more.
Roll in powdered sugar – Place 2-3 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar in a shallow bowl and roll each cookie until coated. Let cookies cool and enjoy.
How to Store These Cookies
After letting these cookies cool completely on a wire rack, store them in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 1 week. I’ve found that storing them in the fridge this helps the cookies keep a crisp texture and ensures that the powdered sugar doesn’t soak into the cookies. They’re also delicious after freezing! For freezing crescent cookies, simply place in an airtight freezer-safe container. They should last in the freezer for at least a month.
If you make these crescent cookies, be sure to leave a comment and star rating letting me know how they turned out. Your feedback is so helpful for the EBF team and other readers who are thinking about trying the recipe.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grab an ungreased baking stone.
Mix almond flour, softened butter, 3 Tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and salt in a small bowl until a cohesive dough forms. It will seem a little dry at first, but just keep mixing. Once combined, mix in chopped pecans. You can use your hands to help mix the pecans in if needed.
Roll tablespoons of the dough into a small log and then shape into a crescent shape. Arrange the crescents about 1 inch apart on the sheet as they will spread a bit. Bake the cookies for 20 minutes or until they start to turn light golden brown on top.
Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for about 5 minutes. Transfer them to a rack to cool 10 minutes more. Place 2-3 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar in a shallow bowl and roll each cookie until coated. Let cookies cool and enjoy.
Store any leftover cookies in the fridge. I’ve found that this helps the cookies keep a crisp texture and ensures that the powdered sugar doesn’t soak into the cookies.