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