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Nanny’s Walnut Crescents

Christmas is truly the most magical time of the year. The lights, the decorations, the carols, the smells, the sweets — there are so many aspects of the season that I love.

Having young children makes the holidays even better than I imagined.

Charlie loves to help in the kitchen, so he is my go-to baking assistant, and if I mention Christmas cookies, his apron is on in a flash.

Each year, I try new cookie recipes as well as family favorites. I think the real magic in Christmas comes in remembering loved ones and recreating food memories from the past.

This past year, I made some cookies that had my mom, aunt and uncle stop in their tracks and say, “These taste just like Mom’s.” THAT was the biggest compliment I have ever received, because my Nanny was an amazing cook and baker.

Nanny was absolutely the type of grandma that was capable of anything. I’m not sure there was anything she couldn’t make, fix or put together if she set her mind to it. I remember her having tins and tins filled with Christmas cookies in her kitchen. She loved tradition, so she would make so many cookies every year, even if she knew they would not all get eaten. She also put a slice of white bread in every container to keep the cookies fresh longer.

Nanny’s walnut crescents have always been one of my favorite Christmas cookies. It feels great to use one of her handwritten recipes, use a plate of hers and think of Christmas memories past and present.

This recipe is also a kid favorite; Charlie thought the powdered sugar looked like snow and Delilah was thrilled that the cookies tasted just like sugar! These powdered sugar-covered morsels are so delicious that they are worth the powdered sugar lips and piles of crumbs left on the table.

Here is what you’ll need:cooking1

1 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons water
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup powdered sugar


1  Beat butter for 30 seconds.

2  Add sugar and beat until fluffy.

3  Add vanilla and water and beat well.

4  Stir in flour and nuts.

5  Shape into 1” balls or 1½ x ½” logs; shape logs into crescents.

6  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

7  Bake in 325° oven for 20 minutes.

8  Cool completely.

9  Shake a few cookies at a time in a plastic bag with powdered sugar.

I love that these cookies are sturdy enough to withstand young children shaking them in the powdered sugar. Charlie and Delilah had fun taking turns as “sugar coaters.”

These cookies also freeze extremely well, so if you find yourself with a tad too many Christmas cookies, you can freeze them in a plastic bag. During the winter, I would sneak one out of the freezer, microwave it for 15 seconds and enjoy a little taste of Christmas. Enjoy!  



Megan Ritter of New Cumberland is a wife, teacher and (most importantly) mommy to two energetic kiddos. Charlie, 5, and Delilah, 2, are siblings and best friends. Megan lives for holidays, family dinners and going on adventures. If she’s not in the kitchen cooking or baking, you can find her browsing Pinterest, playing outside or taking pictures of food. Check out Megan’s blog The Ritter Experiment to find out what’s happening in the Ritter family!

If you love to cook (or craft!) and can translate that well into words, email us at Your recipe and story may be featured in an upcoming issue of Central Penn Parent!

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