Vanilla kipferl are vanilla flavored and crescent-shaped almond cookies covered with a decadent amount of powdered sugar. They are one of Germany’s favorite Christmas cookies although they are actually of Austrian origin, Vienna to be precise.
There are uncountable versions of recipes for vanilla kipferl out there. Some are with hazelnuts and some without any nuts at all, but the ones I like most are the ones with almonds. I used almond meal because I had it on hand and to be honest I had been lazy, but you can easily grind your own in your food processor. And don’t bother peeling the almonds, their skin adds even more flavor.
The other tasty fact about this kipferl is their flakiness. And this recipe makes them extra special flaky. I borrowed the idea of bringing tiny pieces of cold butter into the dough, from making pie dough. I used my food processor, but you can also make the dough by hand and chop the cold butter into the dough or rub with your fingers, again the same technique you would use for making pie dough.
- 250 g / 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 120 g / 1 cup almond meal
- 80 g / ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
- 200 g / ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
- 3 egg yolks from large eggs
- seeds of one vanilla bean
- about 120 g / 1 cup powdered sugar
- Add dry ingredients to the bowl of your food processor and mix.
- Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the dry ingredients, pulse until small peas appear. Add the egg yolks and the seeds of the vanilla bean and pulse just until combined. The dough will be crumbly but hold its shape when pressed between your fingers. Transfer the dough to another bowl and knead quickly with your hands. Press into a ball, wrap and chill in your fridge for one hour.
- Preheat your oven to 175 C / 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Work in batches, using your hand, roll dough into finger-thick ropes. The dough is a little crumbly at the beginning until it warms up while working with your hands. Cut into 5 cm / 2 inches pieces and form a crescent with tapered ends. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. Roll and form the second batch of cookies while the first one is baking.
- The kipferl are very fragile while hot but sturdy when cold. Transfer the cookies to a cookie tin and cover generously with powdered sugar.
- You can store them for at least 4 weeks in an airtight container, they age well.