Ever since I was a kid, these cookies have been known to me as “Puff Cookies”, they were always made for special occasions by my Mom and Aunt Eileen. These cookies are seen in almost every Italian Bakery in my neck of the woods. I’m sure you might recognize them by a different name, such as Crescents, Butter Balls, Italian, and Mexican Wedding cookies and Russian Tea cakes. I’m sure there are many other names, but to me they will always be, Puff Cookies!
Like little puffs of snow, they just melt in your mouth upon impact, they are truly one of my favorites!

making cookiesMy family never made the crescent shape, ours were always rolled into a ball, placed onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, and then pressed in the middle with your thumb print.

making cookies

The thumbprint creates a nice indention for the powdered sugar to fall into it.

powdered sugar cookies
Right from the oven gently toss the cookies right into the powdered sugar coating them all over.
puff cookies
Place them on waxed paper to finish cooling down.
They’re hard to resist while laying there cooling off, you might want to give them a taste test. They’re buttery and instantly melt in your mouth!
cookie can
I always make these for the holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and any other special occasion in my family, it’s a tradition.
Plus I always make extra so I can pack some up for everyone to enjoy at their home as well.
cookie can
 Some cookies always bring up the best memories, with just one bite it brings you back, these puff cookies do that for me, I hope you give them a try!

This recipe makes quite a bit, I’m sure you could cut everything in half, but why would you? There will be more to share with your family and friends.



  • 1 lb. unsalted butter, room temperature ( very important)
  • 4 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons, good vanilla
  • 8 teaspoons sugar (yes that's right just 8 teaspoons)
  • ¾ cup ground pecans ( it's optional but recommended )
  • a bowl of powdered sugar
  1. Cream butter in a heavy mixer.
  2. Add sugar and vanilla and mix til fluffy.
  3. Add in flour until well incorporated.
  4. When dough is finished make teaspoon sized balls and place on a parchment lined sheet pan.
  5. Make a thumbprint in each ball.
  6. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
  7. Immediately gently roll the baked cookies into the powdered sugar until well coated.
  8. Let them cool completely on wax paper.
  9. Enjoy!