5 days of christmas cookies: cinnamon nut crescents/balls

For the second recipe in my holiday cookie series, I’m not sure what the cookies should actually be called. They can be made using either walnuts or pecans — my mom uses pecans and I use walnuts, partly because they are much easier to find than pecans! The cookies can also be shaped into balls or crescents and it is nice to do a little of both, just to spice things up.

I feel I should warn you, however: these cookies are ridiculously addicting.

cinnamon nut cookies

Recipe: Cinnamon Nut Cookies


  • 2 c nuts: either pecans or walnuts; pecans will yield a slightly sweeter cookie
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, plus some for dusting at the end
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 c butter, at room temperature
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla


  1. Heat oven to 350. Spread the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, about 6 to 8 minutes. After the nuts have cooled, use a food processor to finely ground them. Note: This can be done ahead of time and the nuts can be stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer until you need them.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the ground nuts, flour, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. Then, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1/3 cup of the sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vanilla.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined — don’t mix it too much!
  5. Shape the dough into crescents and/or balls using about a tablespoon of dough for each cookie. Place them 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake at 350, rotating the baking sheets around the halfway mark, until just beginning to brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cookies cool for a minute on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Place the remaining sugar on a plate (you should have 2/3 c). Roll the cookies in the sugar to coat, then repeat so that each cookie has been rolled at two different times.
  8. Finally, dust the tops with a little cinnamon.

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