Vanillekipferl have a rich, buttery flavor with a hint of vanilla and a nutty undertone from ground walnuts. The texture is crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth, similar to shortbread.
Vanillekipferl are traditional Austrian cookies that are especially popular during the Christmas season, but delicious all year round. These crescent-shaped cookies are made with a simple dough of ground walnuts (or almonds), sugar, flour, and butter, and are flavored with vanilla. After baking, the cookies are dusted with a mixture of powdered sugar and vanilla sugar while still slightly warm, which gives them a sweet, vanilla-infused coating.
The name “Vanillekipferl” translates to “vanilla crescents” in English, which is a fitting description of these delicate, crescent-shaped treats. They are said to have originated in Austria, but they are also commonly found in Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, each region having its own variation of the recipe.
Vanillekipferl have a rich, buttery flavor with a hint of vanilla and a nutty undertone from the ground walnuts. The texture is crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth, similar to shortbread. They are often enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea and are a staple in many households during the Christmas season. However, we think they deserve to live to be eaten during any season, as we do not discriminate against delicious cookies.
The crescent shape of the cookies is said to represent the Turkish emblem, and according to legend, the cookies were created to celebrate the victory of the Austrian-Hungarian empire over the Ottoman Empire. Today, however, they are enjoyed by people all over the world, regardless of their historical significance.
Step by Step Guide to Making Vanillekipferl – Austrian Vanilla Cookies
Prepare the Dusting Sugar:
- Start by preparing the dusting sugar. Sift at least 150g of powdered sugar into a bowl and set it aside for later.
Prepare the Dry Ingredients:
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, then mix in the ground walnuts.
Cream the Butter and Sugar:
- In a separate bowl, mix the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer or a wooden spoon.
- Mix for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
Add Wet Ingredients:
- Add the vanilla extract to the butter mixture.
- Then, gradually incorporate the milk, adding it spoonful by spoonful and mixing well after each addition.
Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients:
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, one half at a time, and knead just until the dough comes together. Be careful not to over-knead the dough.
Chill the Dough:
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This will make the dough easier to handle and help the cookies hold their shape during baking.
Preheat the Oven:
- While the dough is chilling, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
Shape the Cookies:
- Once the dough is chilled, take small pieces of dough and shape them into logs that are about 1cm (less than 1/2 inch) in diameter.
- Cut the logs into approximately 5cm (2 inches) long pieces.
- Using your fingertips, shape each end of the smaller pieces to look thinner, then bend the small log to form a crescent or half-moon shape.
Bake the Cookies:
- Place the shaped cookies on baking trays lined with parchment paper.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until they are just slightly golden brown.
Dust the Cookies:
- Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.
- Then, carefully take the cookies from the pan and roll them in the prepared powdered sugar, making sure to coat them on all sides.
- Place the coated cookies on a platter and serve! You can enjoy them warm or allow them to cool completely before serving.
I am a self-taught baker and pastry-school graduate and I have an affinity for food. But I especially love baking, taking pictures, exploring dessert cookbooks, entremets and writing. I focus on creative desserts and baking techniques that are aimed to both novices and experts in the kitchen and I truly believe that being a pastry chef is not about looking for innovative ways of making desserts, but about learning the basic techniques and then combining them into new, original desserts, relying on textures and flavors.