These Ciasteczka Waniliowe, or Polish Vanilla Hazelnut Crescent Cookies, are traditional at Christmastime and therefore perfect for this month’s Creative Cookie Exchange, which is celebrating the traditional cookies served during the various holidays occurring around the Winter Solstice all over the world. Affiliate links were used in this post to link to items I am discussing.
So many cookies and sweets! But you cannot possibly be tired of them yet! Just yesterday I added Butter Crunch with dark chocolate and macadamia nuts and Butter Crunch with milk chocolate and peanuts to our tins. And Mint Chocolate Chip Marshmallows made with Creme de Menthe. And a cake to be unveiled this Thursday.
Holiday baking continues! I love this time of year!
I didn’t love it so much when the planetary part of the mixer fell off mid-marshmallow whipping. Cursing and trauma may have ensued. But rest assured, my mom took one look at my face and whipped me off to the Kitchen Aid Experience in Greenville, Ohio, where she bought me a refurbished 7 quart beauty. I already tested it out on some Salted Maple Bourbon Marshmallows (oh yeah. You read that right. We fought over the fluff). I am happy to report it is even more powerful and quiet, and I think I am in love. Thanks Mom and Dad! (And if you’re brain stopped functioning at “salted maple bourbon” I am hoping to share that recipe soon.)
Anyway. These cookies. Which I made a week or so ago–but like all good holiday cookies, they keep excellently in a tin for a long time. The rules for this month’s Creative Cookie Exchange were that the cookies had to be a traditional winter holiday recipe–not from your own country’s culture. I am one quarter Polish (my dad’s mom) and for no reason other than that I started perusing Polish Christmas cookies. I found these Polish Crescent Cookies at about.com, and changed a few things about them, but in general remained true to the original cookie. They are similar to a Wedding Cookie or a Polvorone cookie, but have a much stronger emphasis on vanilla and never include eggs. Traditionally they are made with almonds, but I just love hazelnuts so much that I could not resist subbing. They are also–obviously–shaped in crescents. And authentic crescents would be much smaller I think, but suffice to say Alex and I struggled with that particular aspect of the cookie!
Guys these are beyond delicious. I cannot stay out of them. And that is saying something given all of the other options I have at the moment! I had to immediately set aside a pile to send to my parents, for fear that otherwise they would all be gone! Alex, who helped make them, also loved them. Sammy is too busy sneaking Lump of Coal cookies to care and John loves the biscotti. Yep we have something for everyone here! Come stop by!
- 7 oz/14 T softened unsalted butter
- 2 cups AP flour
- ¼ t fine sea salt
- ½ t baking powder
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 t vanilla bean paste*
- 3.5 oz (1 slightly heaping cup) ground hazelnuts**
- 1-2 T milk, if necessary
- ⅓ cup confectioners' sugar for dusting
- 2 t ground vanilla beans for dusting***
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla paste.
- Mix in the hazelnut flour. Continue to scrape the bowl as needed.
- On the lowest speed, mix in the flour mixture. If the mixture is too dry--mine was, it was quite crumbly--add the milk, a tablespoon at a time, mixing on low.
- Portion out small balls of dough--in retrospect, I should have used a very small cookie scoop to keep the size small, but instead most of my balls ended up like small golf balls! Roll the dough in your hand to form a very short rope, and then shape into a crescent.
- Place on the cookie sheets 1½ inches apart. Bake until the bottoms of the cookies are golden--the original recipe says 5-10 minutes, but with my larger cookies it took more like 10-12 minutes.
- While the cookies are baking, whisk together the powdered sugar and ground vanilla beans.
- Remove the baked cookies from the oven. Immediately sift the sugar-vanilla bean mixture over them. Let cool an additional 5 minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Store in an airtight container.
*I use Singing Dog Vanilla Vanilla Bean Paste; the original recipe called for a vanilla bean, which I did not have handy. I did not want the added liquid from extract and I think the paste is more intense–but if you try it report back and let me know how it turned out!
**Call me lazy, but I will always opt for buying nut meal or flour, such as Bob?s Red Mill Flour/Meal, Hazelnut, 14-ounces, which is what I used here.
***The brand I use, The Baker’s Kitchen, does not seem to be available at Amazon, but you can find Ground Madagascar Vanilla Beans from other companies there.
The theme this month is International Winter Holiday Cookies! If it is a cookie traditionally made somewhere in the world for a holiday traditionally observed near the Winter Solstice you might find it on this list. If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.
You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes–be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:
- Almondy Delites from Indian Curries/stew
- Besitos de Coco – Coconut Kisses from Food Lust People Love
- Chocolate Chip and Mandarin Orange Cookie Bars from NinjaBaking
- Zimsterne – German Christmas Cookies from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Norwegian Almond Cookies from Magnolia Days
- Pecan Linzer Cookies from Sweet Cinnamon & Honey
- Polish Vanilla Hazelnut Crescent Cookies (Ciasteczka Waniliowe) from The Spiced Life
- Rugelach from A Baker’s House
- Stained Glass Cookies from Spiceroots
- Swedish Rye Cookies from What Smells So Good?