Friday, March 13, 2015

Almond Cinnamon Lemon German Crescent Cookies

These German crescent cookies (called Mandel Halbmonde) are usually made at Christmas time but I think they work well for any Easter holiday table as well. I love me a flexible cookie. The cinnamon almond coating feels like fall or winter but it hides a bright lemon flavored cookies that have Spring written all over it. 

Dense in texture and packing a triple punch of flavor, the almond batter is brightened up with lemon zest then rolled in an almond cinnamon mixture before baking. In addition to the lemon zest ingredient, I added a small amount of pure lemon extract to punch up the lemon flavor a bit more. You can feel free to omit it or replace it with pure vanilla extract.

The unusual cookie secret to this cookie's density is several cooked egg yolks added to the batter. 

Great flavorful cookies with a sweet crunchy topping that will send you to the moon and back.

Almond Cinnamon Lemon
German Crescent Cookies
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 12 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen

For the topping:

  • 1/4 cup blanched* almonds, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the Cookie dough:
  • 2 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 4 hard-boiled large egg yolks
  • 2 raw large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg white 
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  • Whisk together the chopped bleached almonds, white granulated sugar and ground cinnamon together in a small bowl. 
  • When all the ingredients have been combined, spread the mixture out onto a small flat plate and set aside. 
  • Beat the unsalted butter and white granulated sugar together until fluffy (about 3 minutes at high speed) 
  • Press the hard-boiled egg yolks through a strainer or sieve. Add the sieved yolks to the batter. 
  • Beat in the raw egg yolks, lemon peel and pure lemon extract. 
  • Turn the mixer speed down to low and add the all purpose flour a half a cup at a time, making sure to thoroughly combine the flour into the batter before adding the next half cup. 
  • Stop the mixer just after the last half cup of flour is incorporated into the batter. 
  • Beat the egg white separately until it forms stiff peaks. 
  • Pinch off about 2 tablespoons of dough. Roll it into an even cylinder between your palms. Curve the end of the cylinder to the left and pinch to make them pointed. Gently use the palm of your hand to flatten out the cookie slightly. 
  • Dip the shaped cookie into the egg white and then into the almond, sugar, cinnamon mixture (make sure both sides are coated) and place on the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat until you have used up all the dough. 
  • Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes or until they turn slightly golden on the tips. 
  • Remove from oven and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Arrange on a platter and serve. 
*I chopped up already blanched almond leaves and used them in this recipe. If you do not have blanched almonds handy but have raw ones, you can quickly blanch them yourself. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the almonds to the boiling water for one minute (no more or they will become too soft). Drain and immediately rinse with cold water. The skins will start to shrivel and you can easily pop them off of the almonds with your fingers. Pat the blanched almonds dry with a paper towel and they are ready to use.

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