Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Almond Crescent Cookies)

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Vanillekipferl originated from Vienna, Austria, and are popular in Central European countries. Shortbread-like in texture, they are buttery and crumbly but with an additional almond nuttiness. These are often consumed in association with Christmas, and have similar variations around the world: Mexican wedding cookies, pecan sandies, Chinese almond cookies, Greek kourabiedes, polvorones… It’s interesting that in almost all of these cases, almond crescent cookies are associated with celebratory events. I wonder what it is about almonds that make them such a popular choice for fêtes.

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These cookies were super simple to make. Mixing it up didn’t require any special techniques, and the key thing is probably refrigerating the dough. Refrigerating the dough before shaping them is essential for easy maneuverability. I personally found the shaping process very comforting. I tend towards drop cookies, so shaped cookies are quite a change of pace for me. I also used vanilla essence instead of vanilla beans because that stuff is expensive, yo. I weighed each dollop of dough in order to achieve consistency, and that might be a good idea if you want your cookies to bake evenly. I would also recommend sprinkling the sugar when the cookies are still warm: this will ensure that the sugar adheres to the cookie as it cools down.

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Vanillekipferl
Adapted from Allrecipes
Makes 30 cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
2 cups confectioners’ sugar for rolling

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Add vanilla essence. Mix in the flour and ground almonds. Divide the dough into two pieces, wrap and refrigerate until firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Break off tablespoonful sized pieces of dough and roll them into little ropes about 2 inches long. Bend the ropes into a half circle and place them 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned. Carefully roll warm cookies in the sugar.

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