Cardamom Walnut Crescent Cookies ~ these classic Swedish Christmas cookies are made with a buttery shortbread dough jam packed with walnuts and a hint of warm cardamom ~ every holiday cookie assortment needs a few!
I’m expanding my holiday cookie lineup today with these cardamom walnut crescent cookies. The recipe comes to us via one of my readers, Elaine, from Melbourne Florida. As a loyal follower Elaine knows I adore cardamom, so she sent me a magazine clipping with the recipe for these delicious crescents. I was really excited to try them because I’ve never made anything like them before. These are classic cookies that somehow never made it into our family’s recipe box, so they’re a new discovery for me, even though they’ve been around for generations. Thanks Elaine!
Like so many classic holiday cookies these are a breeze to make. Everything comes together with just a few pulses of a food processor, beginning with the walnuts, cardamom, and sugar, followed by chunks of cold butter, and finally the flour. The dough is beautifully soft and fragrant.
Most Swedish style crescent cookie recipes are very similar when it comes to the ingredients, but each one seems to have a different method for forming the little crescents. This one is easy and logical ~ the first step is to divide the dough into 3 parts and then roll each one into a long skinny log.
After chilling, you simply slice the log into 1 inch segments and form into crescents.
TIP: Elaine’s recipe specified freezing the crescents before baking, but I found it didn’t make much of a difference so I skipped that step. I always like to experiment with a cookie or two to see if certain recipe steps are essential. You can save yourself a lot of trouble if you find they aren’t.
Finally these crescents get their all-important powdered sugar coating. Once again, every recipe has a different rule, some specify coating the cookies warm, others insist they must be completely cooled. I did some experimenting and found it works both ways, so your choice!
How to grind your own cardamom ~
Cardamom is a unique and gorgeously aromatic spice that doesn’t get much play in American recipes. You can find it ground in your supermarket, but, like all spices, it comes in a whole form, too, and when you grind it yourself you take the experience to a whole new level.
- Buy whole (green) cardamom pods, you’ll find them in better grocery stores, gourmet and health food stores, and online.
- Crush them open by rolling over them with a rolling pin to release the little black seeds inside.
- Collect the seeds and discard the pods. Grind the seeds in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. My trusty coffee grinder has been serving me well for decades. I love it.
- Grind as needed for the best, most intense flavor. While you won’t go to the trouble for every recipe, for a holiday cookie like this it’s worth it.
- Do a sniff test, the spoon on the left is bottled cardamom, and the one on the right is freshly ground. No comparison.
These cookies were a huge hit at our house, we especially loved them with coffee, in the morning, or after dinner!
*recipe slightly adapted from Good Housekeeping
Make it your own ~
- This cookie can be made with other ground nuts besides walnuts ~ try almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans.
- Use a good quality gluten free baking mix like Bob’s Red Mill for a gf version.
- Switch out the cardamom for another warm spices like cinnamon, chai, or pumpkin spice blend.
- Add the seeds of a vanilla bean to the dough.
Don’t forget to pin these Cardamom Walnut Crescent Cookies ~