Vanillekipferl (Traditional Central European Christmas Biscuits)

If your pre-Christmas schedule is as packed as mine, you will probably – like me – end up engaging in Christmas baking only after the holidays. So, like many years, these vanillekipferl – a particular favorite of mine – only hit the coffee table two days before New Year’s Eve. They did not last for long…

The crescent-shaped biscuits with vanilla flavoring are traditionally made around Christmas in a number of Central European countries such as Germany, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. They are fairly easy to make, only remember to keep the dough well cooled – this makes it easier to handle and also prevents the dough from spreading wide during baking. Consume fresh (usually not a problem, see above 😉 ).

Sanni

Ingredients (for approximately 35 to 45 biscuits):

  • 200 grams of flour (cake flour, German type 405)
  • 80 grams of finely granulated sugar
  • 175 grams of butter, cold & cut into cubes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100 grams of ground almond
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 50 to 75 grams of vanilla sugar
  • 75 grams of icing sugar

Preparation:

  1. Pass the flour through a fine sieve into a large bowl.
  2. Add the sugar, the ground almond, the egg yolk and the butter cubes. Cut the vanilla pod into two halves, remove the seeds with the back of the blade of a knife and add as well.
  3. Using the kneading hooks of an electric mixer, start mixing, then move onto a baking mat in order to transform into a smooth dough. Work fairly quickly; the dough should not warm up too much.
  4. Form 3 to 4 Rolle (approximately 1.5 cm diameter), wrap into cellophane and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius (fan oven). Line two oven trays with baking sheets.
  6. Take one roll of dough after the other out of the fridge, cut into slices approximately 1 cm thick and form first into a ball, then into small rolls with tapered ends. Bend into crescents and place onto the oven tray.
  7. The dough should keep cool – so it is recommended to place in the cold (fridge or – in winter – outside) for a while before baking. This prevents the dough from spreading wide in the oven. Also, if you run into trouble handling the dough because it got too warm, place in the fridge again and let cool down before continuing.
  8. Bake for approximately 15 minutes in the oven. The vanillekipferl should remain very light in color. Turn of the oven and – if required – leave in the remaining heat for another 5 minutes after the baking time.
  9. Pour the vanilla sugar into a deep plate. Roll the biscuits in the vanilla sugar while still warm, then place on the oven tray again and powder over with icing sugar.
  10. Let cool down and enjoy! – Use an airtight container for storing, but consume fresh – that is when the vanillekipferl are best!
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