Italian-Style Hazelnut Crescent Cookies

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As a kid, my favorite holiday cookie was what my Mom called Russian Tea Cookies.  Although, I have heard some folks refer to them as “Snowballs” as well. When I found a recipe for Italian Almond Crescent Cookies, I was intrigued because of its similarity to my old favorite.  Now, my favorites are a variation of these little buttery crescents.

Once upon a time, I was craving these on a snowy day, but I was all out of almonds.  Pilfering my pantry, I discovered that we did have plenty of hazelnuts. And, we certainly love hazelnuts!  So I thought, why not?!  Since then, we have never wanted these cookies any other way!  Over time, I have tweaked the recipe for hazelnutty perfection. Yum!

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, ground in food processor until texture is a mix of powder and small hazelnut chunks (measure after grinding)
  • 2 ½ cup flour
  • Extra powdered sugar for rolling after baking

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit at the beginning, because these cookies come together in a snap.

First, grind hazelnuts to desired texture in the food processor. Remove Hazelnut powder/bits from processor, measure, and set aside.

The dough for this recipe can be made 100% in the food processor. (Yay, for fewer dishes!)

Add butter and sugar to processor and mix until combined. Then add vanilla and mix.

Add flour in three increments, mixing well after each addition.

Finally, add the hazelnuts. Mix until dough is thoroughly combined.

To shape the cookies, make 1 inch diameter balls of dough. Then roll the dough into a small log and bend in the middle to make the crescent shape. If you prefer for them to be shaped more like the “Snowball” version, that works too! (Note: I prefer to bake the snowball-shaped variety at 325 degrees.)

Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until, they start to turn lightly golden brown.

After they have cooled slightly (cool enough to handle) but have not cooled completely, roll in powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

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