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~ Over-the-Moon Candied-Pecan & Toffee Crescents ~

IMG_6915This version of these buttery rich, melt-in-your-mouth, sweet and salty, crunchy-crumbly-munchie confections, which are loaded with honey-glazed candied pecans and English-style toffee bits, will, if you're not forewarned, glue you to the holiday dessert table.  I call them confections because, while they are classified as a cookie, they have all the panache of a candy.  During the holiday season, these cookies show up in the crescent shape, but, other times of the year, they're typically shaped into rounds and referred to as "tea cakes" or "English tea cakes".

There are as many variations on this English recipe which dates back to the middle ages -- all contain nuts, with walnuts or pecans being the most common, and, authentic recipes never contain baking powder, baking soda, eggs or milk (keep in mind the ingredients available in that time period of history -- baking powder and baking soda did not exist back then).  They are made from the typical middle-ages-type pastry mixture of flour, sugar, ground nuts, butter and water.

Tea cakes, English tea cakes or holiday crescent cookies:



1  cup salted butter, at room temperature, very soft (2 sticks)

1  cup confectioners' sugar

2  teaspoons pecan flavoring

1  teaspoon pure vanilla extract

8  ounces honey-glazed candied pecans

1/2  cup English toffee bits

2 1/4  cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/4  teaspoon sea salt

4-6  tablespoons cold water

additional confectioners' sugar, for dusting cookies

IMG_6830 IMG_6830 IMG_6830 IMG_6830 IMG_6830 IMG_6846 IMG_6846~Step 1.  In work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, using a series of 45-50 rapid on-off pulses, pulverize pecans to small bits and pieces.  Transfer to a medium bowl (there will be 1 1/2 cups), then, stir in the toffee bits (to total 2 cups).  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and salt.  Set aside. Line 2, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans with parchment paper.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 350º.

IMG_6852 IMG_6852 IMG_6852 IMG_6852~Step 2.  In a large bowl, on medium-high mixer speed, cream together the butter, sugar and extracts, 1 minute.  Lower mixer speed, add pecan mixture and fold it into butter mixture, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula until ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, 1 minute.

IMG_6861 IMG_6861 IMG_6861 IMG_6861~Step 3.  Add the flour and salt.  Continue mixing on low speed and scraping down sides of bowl with the spatula, until flour is thoroughly incorporated.  Mixture will resemble coarse crumbs. Remove mixer.  Add 4 tablespoons water and use the spatula to blend it in.  If mixture doesn't come together to form a ball, add 2 more tablespoons water.  Mixture will have formed a ball.

IMG_6870 IMG_6870 IMG_6870 IMG_6870~Step 4.  Using a 1 1/2" ice-cream scoop as a measure, roll balls of dough between your fingertips to form 3"-3 1/2" logs.  Shape logs into crescents and place, 1 1/2"-2" apart on prepared pans, 20 on each pan.  Use your index fingertip and thumb to taper either end of each crescent.

IMG_6873Tip from Mel:  For evenly-shaped and sized crescents, which makes for a prettier presentation, place each log into a 2 1/2" round jar lid, use the lid to form the crescent shape, then invert the lid onto the baking pan -- the crescent will drop right out.  The "lid" in this photo is actually the bottom of a red Solo cup which I cut with a pair of kitchen shears. 

IMG_6884 IMG_6884 IMG_6884 IMG_6901 IMG_6901~Step 5.  One-pan-at-a-time, bake cookies on center rack of preheated 350º oven, until puffed and lightly-browned, 12-14 minutes.  Do not over-bake/over-brown.  Remove from oven and cool on pan about 1 minute prior to using a thin spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely, 1-2 hours, prior to lightly-dusting with confectioners' sugar.

Lightly-dust cooled crescents w/confectioners' sugar & serve:

IMG_6905Over-the-Moon Candied-Pecan & Toffee Crescents: Recipe yields 40-44, 3 1/2" cookies.

Special Equipment List:  food processor; spoon; hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; 2, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans; parchment paper; 1 1/2" ice-cream/cookie scoop; thin spatula

6a0120a8551282970b0224df349c26200bCook's Note:  For a different-type cookie with the same theme, my ~ Buttery Candied-Pecan and Toffee Bit Shortbread ~ cookies will disappear almost as fast as you can bake them. Throughout the United Kingdom, shortbread has been a tradition at tea time since medieval days.  As the name implies, shortbread contains shortening in the the form of butter, plus sugar and flour.  After this super-easy to make dough is mixed, it can be be baked in several forms.

"We are all in this food world together. ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2018)


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