Nutmeg perfumes these delicate cookies, making them particularly appealing. Because they are fragile, avoid crumbling by using a small metal spatula to remove them from the baking sheet.
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup walnuts
8 Tbs. (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
Preheat an oven to 325°F. In a food processor, combine the flour, walnuts, butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Then process continuously until the dough begins to gather together. Pinch off 2 tsp. of the dough and roll it between your palms to form a rope 2 1/2 inches long, slightly tapering it at both ends. On a large ungreased baking sheet, arrange the rope in a crescent shape. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the crescents about 1 inch apart.
Bake until just firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely. Using a sieve, sift a light dusting of confectioners' sugar over the cooled cookies. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Makes about 24 cookies.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, After Dinner, by Kristine Kidd (Time-Life Books, 1998).