Vanillekipferl is a traditional Christmas cookie originating in Austria, although it has become a popular holiday sweet in Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. Children love help making these delicious cookies made from ground almonds, shaping the dough into little moons.
As the story goes, centuries back, the Austro-Hungarian Empire repelled an invasion from the Ottoman Turks, partly thanks to bakers in Vienna who first raised the alarm. The bakers celebrated by creating these little cookies, shaped into crescents to symbolize the Turkish flag. They have been a delicious tradition ever since.
- 1/2 cup ground peeled almonds (or walnuts)
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup softened unsalted butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (the scraped-out seeds)
- Vanilla sugar for coating
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the almonds, flour, sugar, butter, egg yolks and vanilla seeds. Knead for a few until everything is well blended and soft dough forms.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal balls, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Roll each bowl into a log and cut into about 20 equal pieces. Form pieces into small cylinders and taper the ends into dull points.
- Bend each cylinder into a crescent shape.
- Transfer the crescents onto a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake in the oven until light golden, about 10-15 minutes. Don’t over bake the cookies or they will be dry and crumbly.
- Remove the cookies from the oven. While still warm, toss them gently in vanilla sugar (or regular sugar). The cookies need to be warm in order for the sugar to stick.
- Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.
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