These crescents are the Austro-Hungarian Christmas cookie, and during the holidays you will find mountains of the little vanilla-sugar-coated treats in Konditorei windows. Crisp yet tender at the same time, they are at their very best when made with a vanilla bean instead of extract. Vanilla sugar is a staple European grocery item, but it’s not so easy to find here. One way to make it is to bury a vanilla bean in confectioners’ or granulated sugar (depending on its final use) for a couple of weeks, allowing the bean to slowly release its scent and flavor into the sugar. My method is for those bakers who don’t always think ahead, and gives a stronger vanilla flavor.