Originally, my mom made these as crescent moon–shaped cookies, but by the time she’d had her fourth child, there never seemed to be enough hours in the day. Spending time with a cookie cutter just didn’t seem prudent, so my mom went for full moon–shaped cookies instead, by shaping them into balls.
You can use a small (1½-inch) diameter cookie or ice cream scoop to help speed along the shaping process. This cookie dough can be kept for 2 months in the freezer. You can also vary how finely you chop the almonds, depending on your preference for a smoother, more finely ground cookie, or one with chunks of almonds (that’s how I like them).
Unsalted butter, warmed to room temperature 2 sticks (16 tablespoons)
Confectioners’ sugar, sifted ¼ cup, + 1 cup for coating
All-purpose flour, sifted 2 cups
Vanilla extract (I recommend Nielsen-Massey brand), 1 teaspoon
Almonds, slivered, finely chopped 1 cup
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a mixing bowl (if using a hand mixer), cream the butter until it is light and fluffy.
2. With the mixer still running, slowly add in the ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar and the flour, mixing until well combined.
3. With the mixer still running, add in the vanilla extract. Turn off the mixer, and slowly add the chopped almonds. Mix until the almonds are just combined, about 1 minute.
4. Use the cookie scoop to scoop out balls of dough, and place the balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Try not to touch the dough balls, as doing so will warm the dough.
5. Bake at 325°F for about 30 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly brown.
6. Cool the cookies completely on a wire rack. Pour the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar into a low bowl and roll the cooled cookies around in it until covered.