Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Lemon Cardamom Crescents #ChristmasCookies @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: December, in my childhood, was the Month of the Christmas Cookie. My mother made easily a dozen varieties—spritz, Russian teacakes, date pinwheels, and on and on, keeping some for the family, and spreading the love with plates she carried into other people’s homes like sacred offerings.

Which I guess they were.

So, when I started choosing recipes for the 5th Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles (coming in June 2018, from Midnight Ink), I had an embarrassment of riches. Not to my surprise, it turned out that most of my favorites include nuts or chocolate, so I scanned my memory and my mother’s recipes for some that didn’t. Alas, most of the non-nutters involved a level of manual dexterity that my mother had in spades, but that I lack, such as berlinkranzer, the tiny wreaths decorated with snips of candied fruit, and candy cane cookies. I’ve got her spritz press and who doesn’t love eating spritz? Who loves making them? Ah, yes, I see the hands going down. It’s not that it’s hard, exactly, just maybe a little more time-consuming than most of us want in a cookie.

So I turned to my collection of cookie cookbooks. (No, I’m not telling you how many I have.) This recipe comes from Better Homes & Gardens Cookies for Christmas (1985). Coriander has a lemony taste to it, so the lemon peel and juice are a natural complement. Use a microplane for zesting if you have one. (Thanks to my BFF Lita’s stop at the local kitchen shop on her annual visit this fall, I’ve got one now and love it!) The flavors are delicate enough to go well with a cup of tea, and sturdy enough for a cup of coffee or a snifter of something stronger.

Ultimately, I didn’t include this cookie in the book, not because it isn’t worthy but because Erin, my main character, chose another as a favorite. But these little crescents might become one of ours and, I hope, yours.

What's your favorite holiday cookie?

Lemon-Cardamom Crescents

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until softened. Add 1/3 cup powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. Add lemon peel, lemon juice, and cardamom, and beat well. Gradually add the flour and mix well.

Shape dough into 1-1/2 by ½ inch logs. Curve into a crescent shape, being careful not to break the dough at the curve, and taper the ends. Place on a baking sheet and bake 18-20 minutes, or until golden on the bottom. Cool on a rack. When completely cool, place 1/3 cup powdered sugar in a plastic bag and shake a few cookies at a time to lightly coat.

Makes about 4 dozen. How many you keep is up to you.

From the cover of AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #5 (Midnight Ink, 2018, available for pre-order now):  

In Jewel Bay---Montana's Christmas Village---all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily’s turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.

When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. A past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. Your heading says cardamom, but the recipe says coriander.

    These sounds delicious. I can imagine them melting in my happy mouth!
    All the best to you and yours for the season!

  2. These are perfect cookies to dress up a Christmas tray. Thank you for the recipe & the story about your Mom's Christmas baking. Happy Holidays!

  3. Look amazing! Thanks for the recipe!

  4. I might try these with almond meal. The powdered sugar in the cookie is different. I usually associate it with frosting. I always found the spritz cookies made in a press pretty easy. No fancy decorations, just colored sugar. Haven’t tried those in years. Happy Holidays!