I spent last weekend in London catching up with an old friend, shopping at a big pottery market, learning about drawing anime characters from my friend’s kids, getting tipsy with her neighbours, eating good food and sampling delicious vegan cheeses. It was a lot of fun and I hope we can do a repeat soon. Now that I am back, after much needed relaxation, I’m eager to do some baking and cooking again. I hope to bring you a few more festive recipes before I put my feet up until the end of the year.
Today’s cookies known as vanilla crescent cookies in English (my gran used to call them waniliowe rożki) were my childhood Xmas cookie staple. My maternal grandma used to make at least a dozen of different cookies every Xmas and there was no talking her out of it, even when she was in her mid to late 80’s. Her daughters pleaded with her to take it easy but she was uncompromising and adamant that there needs to be a lot of variety on her Xmas table.
I rang both my mum and my auntie asking for this recipe and I ended up with two quite different recipes despite them apparently coming from grandma…and so delightfully imprecise too. If I was to publish a baking recipe this vague, I think I would get a lot of angry emails 🙂 . I concluded that either gran must have had another (secret) recipe notebook or she simply held all her recipes in her head, which is admirable given that she only made these for Xmas and they were always to die for.
These delicate vanilla-scented almond cookies originated in Austria but since Krakow (where my gran was born and lived all her life) was a part of Habsburg Empire (known as Austrian Galicia), they became part of Polish Xmas tradition too. They are delicious and not hard to make at all. I find that they are the easiest and quickest to make in a food processor. You can, of course, make the dough by hand too, but be sure to treat the dough gently (like you would any shortbread) so that you don’t allow much gluten to develop in the process. I have taken the liberty to add a small amount of ground cardamom to my version, which not sure my gran would approve of, but I like its floral flavour in these simple cookies and I hope you’ll too. If you are not a cardamom fan, leave it out.
*CARDAMOM: Skip if you aren’t a fan or sub with cinnamon.