Monday, December 19, 2011

Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescents)

Pin It
Alright, so I'm a big old liar.
Last post – which was AGES ago – I promised that I would stick around and keep writing. I did not.
But hey, at least I'm pretty good at lying as I had convinced myself at that moment I could do it. Damn how oblivious I was.
The reason I was on a hiatus? University. Let's just say there had been complications with my Bachelor's Thesis that had me stuck on the computer rewriting and writing it (or falling into comatose four hour sleeps or lying on the floor in fetus position slowly rocking myself back and forth...whatever) until the last third of November and then trying desperately to catch up on all the academic things I have missed (I had to complete my thesis during the first semester of my master's programme... long story), holding presentations, attending a three-day course over the weekend in between yadda yadda yadda.


Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescents)

 Good news is, I'm back! It's the middle of December and no thought was given towards Christmas so far. Not one. Meaning: No Christmas shopping yet, no trips to the Christmas market yet and only vague plans of how Christmas is going to be this year.

Among all those Chrismas-y things I have missed so far naturally is: Christmas Baking!
With only five days left until Christmas Eve, I hereby announce my 5-Day Christmas Countdown/ Last Minute Bake-athon! Starting today, I will post one recipe daily until Friday! Yay! But not just any kind of recipes. In a little attempt to spread some warm and cosy Old Worldly Christmas lovin', I will share the most traditional German Christmas biscuits and other pastries I could think of.

Admittedly, Vanillekipferl, sort of translating to Vanilla Crescents – do not ask me what Kipferl is supposed to mean as it is probably some kind of dialect – are more of German-Austrian-Bohemian origin, but as the boarders are rather blurry both geographically and historically, one cannot really pin it down to one particular country, especially not today's.

In Germany at least they belong to Christmas like Candy Canes do in the States and while there sure is a plethora of recipes for such a traditional kind of biscuit – with the ingredients varying slightly – this one is simply amazing. They really are delightfully light and almost melt-in-your-mouth airy. I think it is the lack of egg that helps with the consistency and also makes it really easy to veganize! Just replace the butter with margarine and there you go!

Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescents)

Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescents)

As recipes usually ask for vanilla sugar, which is not easily to be found everywhere around the world, I omitted it in my version and rather added the vanilla straight to the dough as opposed to rolling the baked biscuits in a mixture of icing and vanilla sugar.

  • 250 g (8.8 oz) Cake or All-Purpose Flour
  • 200 g (7 oz) Butter (or margarine for a vegan version)
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) Walnuts, finely ground (I quickly did that in a blender)
  • 70 g (2.5 oz) Icing/Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Pinch of salt
  • Seeds of 1 Vanilla Pod (You could go crazy and use two, I dare you!)
  • Extra Icing/Powdered Sugar

Note: You can also make these using ground almonds or hazelnuts, but increase the amount of butter to 7.8 oz then

  1. Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F)
  2. Knead together all ingredients but the extra icing sugar. (I did that with my hands and I would recommend you doing that, too)
  3. Let the dough sit for at least half an hour.
  4. Form dough into rolls as thick as a finger. Cut into 3cm (a bit more than an inch) long pieces.
  5. With your hands, shape pieces into little crescents.
  6. Bake on the second rack from the top for 15-20 minutes (they should hardly brown)
  7. Immediately yet carefully remove from tray as they both burn and break easily at this state.
  8. Let cool completely and roll in generous amounts of icing sugar.

Getting the right shape can be quite a pain in the bum so sometimes I just roll the dough into little balls to bake vanilla buttons. It indeed is even less time consuming that way.

Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescents)



  1. Welcome back my blogger friend, glad to see that you did not completely drown in your studies! Time does fly! You have come back with a delicious cookie recipe here! While the cookie plates are full of chocolate, peppermint and triple flavored this and that it is nice to come back to the pure classic taste of vanilla. I look forward to seeing more results of the bake-a-thon!

  2. Whew! I'm glad that you are done with your thesis problems. It's nice to read your familiar writing. Welcome back Tobias, the cookies look delicious and post some more good bakes. Ciao!

  3. Welcome back! You poor thing!!! I remember the last time you posted was about a week before my exams....and that was ages ago!! Hope you get to relax during our short break ;) Don't worry, it'll be my time to envy you when you real holidays come! recipe a day is pretty intense! ;) I haven't really baked anything Christmas-y yet! I'm hoping I'll get time to bake a Christmas-themed cake, though right now I can't think of when I'll actually have the time to make and eat it! Your vanilla crescents sound amazing! To be honest, I'd never heard of them until a little while ago in a magazine. But after seeing these, I really want to try them!

  4. Welcome back :) coming back with a bang!

  5. Welcome back...yikes, sorry about the troubles! These look wonderful though and love the photos :)


I am eager to know what you have to say! Feed me comments.