Crunchy shortbread cookies dusted with copious amounts of powdered sugar are an institution in my house around the holidays. My mom always made Mexican wedding cake cookies or almond crescents every year growing up. As an adult, my mainstay recipe has been this Mexican wedding cake cookie one. However, I decided to change things up ever so slightly this year and go the almond route. I'm sort of in love with their little half moon shapes. Also, I wanted to take a minute to wish you all a merry Christmas and happy holidays. I'll be taking a little break to spend time with family from now until just before New Year's. I hope you all enjoy your time with family and get a bit of rest.
INGREDIENTS 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract 1-3/4 cups all purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup chopped almonds, toasted
INSTRUCTIONS Using an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until well-blended. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon and salt. Slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture, beating until well-blended. Mix in almonds with a wooden spoon.
Form dough into a ball, and wrap in plastic. Chill until cold, about 30 minutes. While dough is chilling, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll dough with palms into roughly 1-inch balls. Roll dough balls in hands to create crescent shapes. Arrange the cookies on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake cookies until light golden brown on bottom and just pale golden on top, about 12-14 minutes. Check cookies throughout baking to be sure not to over bake. If baked too long, bottoms will burn and cookies will be very dry.
Cool cookies 5 minutes on baking sheet. Pour 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar in pie dish. Gently toss warm cookies in powdered sugar to coat completely. Transfer coated cookies to rack and cool completely. Roll cookies in powdered sugar again once cooled. Store airtight at room temperature. For extra powdered sugar on your cookies, save leftover powdered sugar and sift over cookies just before serving.