Adapted from Jewish Traditional Cooking by Ruth Joseph and Simon Round
These fragrant, half-moon-shaped cookies were part of my mother's repertoire for special occasions. Easy to produce, they look professional when finished. Sometimes she'd dip the ends in bitter chocolate.
8 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 1⁄2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 1⁄2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
1⁄2 cup confectioners' sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3⁄4 cup ground almonds
confectioners' sugar, to dust
• Preheat the oven to 300°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream the margarine with the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, flour, and almonds, and combine to a soft dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
• Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls, and then roll each ball out to form a sausage shape 2 inches long. Curve the ends to make a horseshoe shape and arrange on your prepared baking sheets.
• Bake in the oven for 40–60 minutes or until firm but not colored. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, and then dust with confectioners' sugar.
Flavor the cookie dough with a few drops of almond extract or some grated lemon or orange zest. For a completely different flavor, substitute ground hazelnuts or walnuts for the ground almonds.
Makes 30 (double up for a party—they disappear!)