Lemon Balm Walnut Crescent Cookies

I am a descendant of recipe collectors both sides, my father’s mother and my mom; it is strong in my genes. But I am not sorry for this because their hand written recipe cards accumulate as my treasures and settling down with a pile of recipe sources to sift through has always been a comforting pleasure.

When I moved to Florida for college, my grandmother lived there. On weekends we watched cooking show after cooking show resting on twin beds in her bedroom after a morning of my helping her with shopping errands. At that time cooking shows were only aired on PBS, no cable food channels existed. After she always prepared a yummy and easy dinner for us, never what we had just watched, she was fast and recipe-less. She was usually critical of the programs and called them fussy, except Julia Child, who she loved. She was addicted to collecting recipes, though, mostly those she clipped from the newspaper. She had boxes of little pieces of paper and also notecards on which she had scratched a recipe from a friend or a box or anywhere she could find something that looked good to her. She left Florida to move back to Pittsburgh when it got hard for her to live on her own. I inherited her prized recipe collection and spent hours transferring them to typed notecards, then throwing away the newspaper because I thought this would preserve them better and also organize them, it was before computers and recipe apps. Now I actually wish I had kept the newspaper as well because she had made notes on some of them and I miss her. I still have the notecards, all of them.

Around the same time, I had a few years of big holiday baking projects. One of the recipes from my grandma’s collection was a favorite, walnut crescents. This year it became my muse. I think my grandma would love it.

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Lemon Balm Walnut Crescent Cookies
Lemon balm syrup, adds a twist to a melt-in-your-mouth festivity. The left-over lemon balm tea, a special treat for the baker, soothes the soul, calms a frazzled nerve and makes baking more fun.
Servings Prep Time
72cookies 20minutes, plus refrigeration and syrup preparation
Cook Time
25minutes
Servings Prep Time
72cookies 20minutes, plus refrigeration and syrup preparation
Cook Time
25minutes
Print
Lemon Balm Walnut Crescent Cookies
Lemon balm syrup, adds a twist to a melt-in-your-mouth festivity. The left-over lemon balm tea, a special treat for the baker, soothes the soul, calms a frazzled nerve and makes baking more fun.
Servings Prep Time
72cookies 20minutes, plus refrigeration and syrup preparation
Cook Time
25minutes
Servings Prep Time
72cookies 20minutes, plus refrigeration and syrup preparation
Cook Time
25minutes
Ingredients
  • For lemon balm syrup
  • 1/2 oz dried lemon balm
  • 3 cup hot water
  • 1 cup organic granulated sugar
  • For cookies
  • ¼ cup brazil nuts
  • 2 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 3 1/4 cup organic all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup organic unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup lemon balm syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Units:
Instructions
For lemon balm syrup
  1. Brew a strong lemon balm tea by placing dried lemon balm leaves into a brewing vessel such as a French coffee press. Pour in hot water. Cover and steep for 30 minutes. Strain, measuring 1 cup (8oz) of tea.
  2. Prepare syrup by combining equal parts of sugar (1 cup) and strong brewed lemon balm tea (1 cup) in a small saucepan. Stir. Bring to simmer over medium low heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer 20-30 minutes until slightly thickened. Cool completely.
  3. Can prepare up to 48 hours in advance and store refrigerated in glass container.
  4. Note: If you have leftover tea from brewing, drink this while you are preparing the cookies or anytime to add a special gift of calm and enhance your lemon balm relationship. Dilute slightly with additional water and sweeten with a bit of honey if desired. Drink either hot or cold.
For cookies
  1. Grind Brazil nuts in food processor until coarsely chopped. Add walnuts and continue to process until all nuts are ground fine. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In another large mixing bowl or bowl of electric mixer, beat together butter, lemon balm syrup and vanilla extract until blended. This can be done by hand or with an electric mixer, either way it will not get completely smooth which is fine.
  4. Stir flour mixture into butter and syrup mixture. Add gradually mixing with a wooden spoon until combined after each addition. Add ground nuts and mix until completely incorporated.
  5. Cover dough and refrigerate for at least 3 hours until well chilled and easy to handle. May also refrigerate overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  7. Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into 2-inch long logs. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart and form into crescent shapes.
  8. Bake until light brown on bottoms, 15-18 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.
  9. Spread portion of powdered sugar on a plate. Roll cookies in powdered sugar to coat. Replenish powdered sugar for coating on plate as needed.
Recipe Notes

*Using organic ingredients in baking whenever possible will make for more nourishing treats. For these cookies, use organic flour, butter, eggs, sugar, and nuts if available.

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lemon balm
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Comments

  1. These lemon balm crescent cookies are so delicate and delicious. I am curious about the use of herbs as additives to my baking, especially my traditional recipes for the holidays. Thank you Dina for sharing!

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