Vanillekipferl are said to have originated in Vienna, Austria, although they are enjoyed in many countries including Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, and Slovakia. Made with ground almonds and flavored with vanilla sugar, these crescent shaped cookies are enjoyed mostly during the Advent and Christmas season. They are said to be in the shape of the Turkish crescent moon in celebration of the defeat of the battle with the Ottoman Empire during the siege of Vienna in 1529.
Like the Speculaas cookies that I made a couple of weeks ago, Vanillekipferl are a short crust cookie. Shortcrust pastries are mainly composed of flour, butter, and sometimes a small amount of water or other wet ingredient like egg. It’s a tricky dough to work with because it’s not always easy to get the dough to form a cohesive mass. If you find it impossible to get the dough to stick together, pulse it in the food processor just until combined. And always make sure to refrigerate before forming the cookies, or they will easily break apart.
200g all-purpose flour
200g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
2 egg yolks
80g granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 packet vanilla sugar, or 2 vanilla beans
100g almond flour
125g powdered sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar, for sprinkling
- Combine flour, cornstarch, butter, egg yolks, granulated sugar, salt, 1 packet (about 1.5 tsp) vanilla sugar or vanilla beans, and almond flour in a large bowl. Knead with your hands until a smooth dough is formed. You can also use a food processor if you have trouble forming a cohesive dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
- From the dough, take small pieces and with your hands form half moons. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely. Once cooled, combine the powdered sugar and packet of vanilla sugar and sprinkle over the cookies.