Vanillekipferl are crescent-shaped cookies so tender they melt in your mouth. They have a strong vanilla flavor and are usually served with coffee in the morning.
Vanillekipferl are popular in Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, and have had their moment of fame in Romania. They are mainly prepared at Christmas time, but if you go to Vienna, you will find them in most confectioner’s shops or cafés all year round.
Although well-known in most of Europe, crescent-shaped cookies originated in Vienna, Austria.
Legend goes that around 400 years ago, in 1683, locals baked them to celebrate a victory against the Turks. The shape chosen is related to the symbol of the Ottoman Empire, the crescent moon.
Worldwide popularity of the cookies was brought by the Germans, who emigrated to the USA in fairly large numbers and took the crescent-shaped cookie recipe with them.
- 500 g all-purpose flour
- 250 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks
- 100 g ground walnuts
- 1 packet vanilla sugar
- 140 g powdered sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and knead until well blended. Shape the dough into a cylinder and roll in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut small pieces of dough and shape into crescents, then place them on a tray lined with a baking sheet. Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges begin to turn golden.
In the meantime, mix the powdered sugar with the vanilla sugar. Let the cookies cool for a minute or so after removing from the oven and then sprinkle with the sugar mixture. Allow to cool completely and dust again.
Variations of vanillekipferl
The original vanillekipferl recipe has no eggs and if you want them to be very tender, you shouldn’t add any either. The aim is to make the dough easier to shape.
The ingredient that gives the cookies their tender texture is butter, which should be as fat-free as possible. At first, ground nuts were used, which makes the dough moister.
Ground almonds or hazelnuts can also be used. Using ground blanched almonds will result in a light-colored cake, while walnuts and hazelnuts will result in a darker cake. Either way, the crescents will be delicious.
Kept in an airtight container in a cool place, the cookies will keep well for weeks.