A proper European Christmas cookie this week! Although this tasty almond cookie with its powdery layer of icing sugar is also a popular Christmas treat in Germany and Hungary, its origins lie in Austria. The citizens of the Bavarian town of Nördlingen claim that the cookie was first baked in their town. But Viennese bakers insist that the vanilla kipferl was invented in their town in the 17th century during the Ottoman-Habsburg wars. Watchful bakers alerted the town’s guardsmen that the Turkish army was digging a tunnel under the town. The siege was averted and in honour of that event the bakers made a cookie in the form of the crescent on the Turkish flag. Vanilla kipferln become even tastier after they have been left to ripen in an airtight cookie tin for a few days. An impossible challenge for me…. Next time I will bake two batches at once. One to pounce on immediately and one to hide somewhere very far away for later.
Vanilla kipferl cookie from Austria
for about 20 cookies
200 grams flour
75 grams ground almonds
pinch of salt
¾ teaspoon vanilla powder (or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean)
75 grams sugar
185 grams butter
2 large egg yolks
100 grams icing sugar
In a large bowl mix the flour with the almonds, the salt, ½ teaspoon vanilla powder (or ¾ of the vanilla seeds) and the sugar.
Add the butter and the egg yolks.
With your fingertips, rub the butter and the egg yolks into the flour mixture until it resembles rough crumbs.
Quickly knead into a ball. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for about 1 hour.
Mix the icing sugar with the rest of the vanilla.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Form the dough into a roll and cut into 1 inch slices of about 25 grams each.
Form a little crescent from each slice and place on a cookie sheet covered with baking paper. Bake the vanilla kipferln in the middle of the oven for about 10-15 mins. They should stay nice and pale.
Toss the hot cookies in the icing sugar and leave them to cool. Store them in an airtight tin. They become even tastier after a few days
This post is also available in: Dutch