When I was a child, Christmas Dinner at my dad’s house was a very big deal. My father’s wife was very particular about her Christmas menu, and every detail was planned well in advance. As I loved to cook and bake, I was co-opted as something of a sous chef, with increasing responsibilities as I got older. One of the tasks I was charged with, once I had proved myself worthy, was making her wonderful pecan crescents. These were beautiful, tender shortbread crescents with chopped pecans and topped with a white icing. They were served on a platter replete with slices of fruitcake and other sweet delicacies, but they were without question the most popular item.
With this recipe, I wasn’t trying to find a low carb, gluten free cookie that could compare. Quite frankly, I think that is beyond the realm of possibility. But I came across a chocolate-dipped crescent cookie recently that put me in mind of those beloved cookies of old, and inspired me to create a low carb crescent of my own. In homage to the original, I decided to use pecan meal as my base ingredient so that, at the very least, I could call them pecan crescents. And I thought that some of the dried cranberries I had just made would be a nice accompaniment to the intensity of the pecans.
I waffled about whether or not to dip them in chocolate. That had originally been my intention but they looked so lovely as they were, sprinkled lightly with powdered erythtritol. I also contemplated creating some sort of white icing to top them with, to make them more reminiscent of the original pecan crescents. In the end, I buckled to the siren call of chocolate, especially since I had some leftover chocolate glaze from my mocha shortbread and all I had to do was heat it up and dip away.
The Results: Another low carb Christmas cookie success. I’m on a bit of a roll here! If you like pecans, you will love these cookies. The nuttiness is fairly intense, which I quite enjoy, and the cranberries add a little bit of colour and texture, as well tartness to offset the pecans. I tasted them without the chocolate and they were quite good, but they are even better with. Chocolate and pecans go so well together, I wonder why I hesitated at all.
This recipe would lend itself well to any nut meal as the base. Hazelnuts would be a wonderful choice. I made my own sugar free dried cranberries because I have had difficulty finding any unsweetened in local stores. I found the recipe here, and it’s not difficult but it is fairly time-consuming. I should perhaps invest in a food dehydrator, but if I ever come across unsweetened dried cranberries, I will be buying them in bulk!
Cranberry Pecan Crescents
2 cups pecans
1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
1/2 tsp vanilla
12 drops stevia extract
1-2 tbsp powdered erythritol, sifted (optional)
1/2 tbsp coconut oil or butter
1.5oz unsweetened chocolate
1 tbsp powdered erythritol
1/4 tsp vanilla
4 drops stevia extract
Preheat oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment.
For the cookies, process pecans in food processor until they are fully ground and are just beginning to clump together.
Transfer pecans to a bowl and stir in cranberries, almond meal and erythritol until combined. Add egg, vanilla and stevia and mix vigorously until dough comes together into one ball or clump.
Roll dough between palms into 1-inch balls. Using your fingers, shape each ball into a crescent and place on prepared baking sheet. They won’t spread so you can put them fairly close together.
Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are beginning to brown and cookies are firm. Cool on pan 10 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered erythritol, if using.
For the glaze, melt coconut oil or butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in cocoa powder and erythritol until no clumps remain. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and stevia extract. Let cool until slightly thickened.
Line another baking sheet with parchment. Dip one end of cooled cookies in chocolate glaze. Lay on baking sheet and let sit or chill in refrigerator until firm.
Makes approx. 24 cookies. Each cookie has 81 Calories; 8g Fat (80.1% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 9mg Cholesterol; 6mg Sodium