Cornulete vanilate (Romanian Vanilla Butter Cookies) are traditional Romanian Christmas Cookies made with ground nuts and dusted with vanilla sugar!
These walnut crescent cookies are a classic European Christmas treat that exudes delicacy. The exact origin of these cookies is unknown, but they have been a popular dessert in Romania for many generations. They are typically served during holidays, weddings, and other special occasions. The recipe for "cornulete vanilate" has been passed down through families for generations and has become a staple of Romanian cuisine.
These cookies have a delicate and buttery texture that melts in your mouth, reminiscent of shortbread, with an added crunch from chopped walnuts. After baking, they are coated with confectioner’s sugar, giving them a snowy appearance.
Every year, my mother would include walnut crescents in her Christmas baking collection, which was quite impressive. These walnut crescents are simply irresistible, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture that is delicate and addictively moreish. Even though they're commonly associated with Christmas, they're a comforting treat that can be enjoyed at any time, especially when paired with a cup of coffee in the morning.
What are Cornulete vanilate?
"Cornulete vanilate" is a type of traditional Romanian cookie that translates to "vanilla crescent cookies". They are similar to Austrian Vanillekipferl, made with a dough that includes ground nuts (usually walnuts or hazelnuts), butter, and vanilla extract. The dough is shaped into small crescents and baked until golden brown, then dusted with confectioner's sugar or a mixture of sugar and vanilla powder. The result is a delicate, buttery cookie with a rich nutty flavor and a light, crumbly texture. They are often enjoyed during the holiday season or with a cup of tea or coffee as a sweet snack.
With just a handful of ingredients including butter, sugar, flour, and walnuts, they are easy to prepare yet bursting with flavor. A light dusting of powdered sugar provides the ideal level of sweetness, making them a perfect addition to any holiday cookie tray.
- Flour - For this recipe, plain flour or cake flour can be used.
- Sugar - Confectioner's sugar, also known as icing sugar or powdered sugar, is used for sprinkling over the cookies instead of caster sugar. Vanilla sugar can also be used for sprinkling, which can be made by storing a vanilla bean in a jar of powdered sugar.
- Butter - Butter is a key ingredient in this recipe, providing the cookies with a crispy texture.
- Walnuts - Ground walnuts are traditionally used in walnut crescent cookies, but chopped almonds or hazelnuts can also be substituted.
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
Instructions to make crescent butter cookies
- Begin by preheating your oven to 325°F (160°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the sifted flour, sifted powdered sugar, and ground walnuts in a large mixing bowl. Add vanilla essence and mix everything together.
- Grate or cut in small cubes the chilled butter into the bowl and use a pastry cutter or your hands to mix all the ingredients until dough forms. This should take about 2-3 minutes. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour mixture. Eventually, the mixture will start to adhere together and form lumps when you squeeze it with your hands.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, mix the extra powdered sugar and vanilla sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Take a piece of the dough (the size of a small walnut) and roll it into a ball, then shape it into a shape it into small crescents or horseshoe shapes.
- Shape the sausage into a crescent and place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat until you have used up all the dough.
- Bake the crescent cookies in a preheated oven at 325°F/160°C for about 10-12 minutes.
- The baking time may vary depending on cookie size and thickness as well as oven differences. It is recommended to keep a close eye on them, particularly for first-time bakers.
- While the cookies are still warm, roll them in the powdered sugar mixture to coat them evenly to ensure they are completely coated.
- Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
Make the dough.
Form into crescent shape.
Dip cookies in a bowl with powder sugar.
Enjoy your delicious "cornulete vanilate cu nuca"!
The main ingredients in Cornulete Vanilate are flour, butter, sugar, vanilla, and walnuts. Here are some possible substitutions for these ingredients:
- Flour: You can use all-purpose flour or cake flour instead of the flour called for in the recipe. If you want to make the recipe gluten-free, you can use a gluten-free flour blend.
- Butter: You can substitute lard, margarine or shortening for the butter, but keep in mind that this will affect the flavor and texture of the cookies.
- Sugar: You can use granulated sugar instead of the powdered sugar called for in the recipe. You can also use brown sugar, coconut sugar, or any other sweetener you like, but this will affect the flavor of the cookies.
- Vanilla: You can use vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, or vanilla powder instead of the vanilla sugar called for in the recipe. You can also use other flavorings such as almond extract or lemon zest.
- Walnuts: You can substitute other nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans for the walnuts called for in the recipe. You can also omit the nuts altogether if you prefer.
Remember, substitutions may alter the flavor and texture of the cookies, so it's best to experiment with small batches first to find the perfect substitution that suits your taste.
Here are some variations for crescent butter cookies:
- Chocolate Crescent: Add cocoa powder to the dough mixture to make chocolate flavored cookies.
- Almond Crescent: Substitute chopped almonds for walnuts in the recipe.
- Lemon Crescent: Add lemon zest to the dough mixture for a tangy twist on the classic recipe.
- Coconut Crescent: Replace the chopped walnuts with desiccated coconut to make coconut flavored cookies.
- Orange Crescent: Add orange zest to the dough mixture for a citrusy flavor.
- Cinnamon Crescent: Add a pinch of cinnamon to the dough mixture for a warming, spicy taste.
- Hazelnut Crescent: Substitute chopped hazelnuts for walnuts in the recipe.
- Cardamom Crescent: Add ground cardamom to the dough mixture for a fragrant and flavorful twist.
To make crescent butter cookies, you will need the following equipment:
- Mixing bowls: to mix the dry ingredients and to combine the wet ingredients with the dry ones.
- Measuring cups and spoons: to measure the ingredients accurately.
- Baking sheet: to bake the cookies.
- Parchment paper or silicone mat: to line the baking sheet and prevent sticking.
- Food processor or pastry knife: to chop the nuts.
- Plastic wrap or cling film: to cover the dough and chill it.
- Oven: to bake the cookies.
- Cooling rack: to cool the cookies before serving.
- Sieve: to sprinkle the cookies with confectioner's sugar.
While not strictly necessary, a stand mixer or hand mixer can make the process of mixing the dough easier and more efficient. A pastry brush can also be helpful for brushing off excess flour from the cookies before baking.
To store crescent butter cookies, first, let them cool completely. Then, place them in an airtight container, and store them at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
If you want to store them for longer, you can freeze them for up to 2 months. To freeze, place the cookies in a single layer in a container or a freezer bag, and separate the layers with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together. When you are ready to eat them, take them out of the freezer and let them come to room temperature before serving.
Here are some tips and tricks for making these crescent butter cookies recipe:
Use real lard or butter: Use high-quality, unsalted lard or butter for the best flavor and texture. Grating the cold butter will make kneading the dough easier.
Don't overmix the dough: Overmixing the dough can result in tough cookies. Mix the dough just until it comes together.
Chill the dough: Chilling the dough before shaping the cookies will help them hold their shape while baking.
Shape the cookies carefully: Be gentle when shaping the cookies to avoid cracking or crumbling.
Bake at a low temperature: Bake the cookies at a low temperature of 180C/350F to ensure they don't brown too quickly.
Roll in confectioner’s sugar while still warm: Roll the cookies in confectioner’s sugar while they are still warm to ensure that the sugar sticks to the cookies.
Store in an airtight container: Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
Make ahead: The dough can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge overnight, making this recipe perfect for holiday baking
Crescent butter cookies are a type of cookie that are shaped like crescents and made with butter, flour, sugar, and nuts.
The main difference between crescent butter cookies and shortbread cookies is that crescent cookies contain nuts, while shortbread cookies do not. Crescent cookies also tend to be lighter and flakier than shortbread cookies.
Yes, you can make crescent butter cookies without nuts by simply omitting them from the recipe. The cookies will still be delicious and have a buttery, crumbly texture.
Crescent butter cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. If stored in the refrigerator, they can last up to two weeks.
Crescent butter cookies pair well with a variety of hot and cold beverages, as well as with other desserts. Here are some suggestions:
Tea: A cup of tea, such as Earl Grey or English Breakfast, pairs well with crescent butter cookies. The mild flavor of the tea complements the subtle sweetness of the cookies.
Coffee: A cup of coffee, such as a latte or cappuccino, pairs well with crescent butter cookies. The rich flavor of the coffee complements the buttery flavor of the cookies.
Hot chocolate: A cup of hot chocolate pairs well with crescent butter cookies. The sweetness of the hot chocolate complements the subtle sweetness of the cookies.
Ice cream: Crescent butter cookies can be paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or any other flavor of your choice. The buttery flavor of the cookies complements the creamy flavor of the ice cream.
Fruit: Crescent butter cookies can be paired with fresh fruit, such as strawberries or raspberries. The tartness of the fruit complements the sweetness of the cookies.
Chocolate: Crescent butter cookies can be paired with a piece of chocolate, such as dark chocolate or milk chocolate. The richness of the chocolate complements the buttery flavor of the cookies.
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Here are some food safety tips to keep in mind when making and storing crescent butter cookies:
- Wash your hands thoroughly before handling any food, including the ingredients for the cookies.
- Make sure to use fresh, high-quality ingredients, and check the expiration dates on any packaged items.
- When working with raw egg yolks, be sure to handle them properly to avoid the risk of salmonella. Use pasteurized egg yolks if possible, or use a recipe that does not call for raw eggs.
- Keep your work surfaces, utensils, and equipment clean and sanitized throughout the cooking process.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator, depending on the recipe, to prevent contamination from bacteria or other microorganisms.
- If you are giving the cookies as a gift or bringing them to a party, be sure to transport them safely in a clean, covered container.
- When serving the cookies, make sure they are not left out at room temperature for more than two hours. If they have been out for longer than that, they should be discarded.