Grandma’s Own Walnut Crescents

Black Friday seems to be the official start the holiday season around here. Lights are up on the houses; Christmas trees are seen lit up through the windows and people are making their Christmas lists for Santa! The next few weeks can be a very busy time of year with holiday gatherings, trips to the mall and wrapping presents.

Holiday baking can seem like an afterthought to some, or it could be the first thing you think about doing. Filling your house with the scents of freshly baked cookies on a cold winter day sounds like a lovely way to spend the day.

Recipes used at this time of year are my favourite kind. They are usually recipes handed down from Grandma/Nanna/Oma, in her handwriting on a recipe card, used so much that it has food splashed over it. These recipes bring more than ingredients and instructions, they bring a feeling of warmth, nostalgia about old times that may or may not be able to be recreated, and a reason for family to get together to celebrate family traditions.

Some people ask me as a dietitian if we have holiday cookies in our house and the answer is an absolute yes! Baking is a chance to connect with our children in the kitchen which is on the top of my list for helping children learn about food. This is especially true when it’s teaching them how to make a special recipe or where to find that unique ingredient or dish that has been used for years in your family.

Here is one of my favourite Christmas baking recipes that require only a few ingredients and are easy for little hands to help with!

Walnut Crescents (Passed down from Grandma Gertrude!)


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp water
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups of flour
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • Icing sugar for coating
  1. Mix all ingredients together until dough is formed.
  2. Form dough into crescent shape (the shape of a ‘C’)
  3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, place cookies on top and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes – do not brown.
  4. Remove from cookie sheet and cool slightly, roll in powdered sugar.

Other versions of this recipe can be found below. Turns out Grandma Gertie wasn’t the only one with this recipe!

I encourage you to take the time to dig out a family recipe or find a new one to start a holiday baking tradition with your family. It can connect you to your family’s roots, expose your children to the kitchen and cooking in a fun way, and provide a space for your children to talk and enjoy some time with their parents.

This can also be an opportunity to discuss the impact of food insecurity on other families in Calgary and what you can do for them this Christmas season. One way to help is to donate through I Can for Kids to End Summer Hunger.

Want to be part of the solution?