November 23, 2016
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are enjoying good food, good people, and good times today!
Today's recipe is for Vanillekipferl and comes from the new cookbook, Classic German Baking by blogger Alicia Weiss of the Wednesday Chef. Coming from a very German family (ha, those who know my family are probably laughing at that as it is an understatement!) and having just visited Germany and Austria, I have a fascination with German baking which has influenced so many cultures and baked goods! It's difficult to find German cookbooks, and I'm very excited for such a beautiful cookbook on German baking.
Vanillekipferl are an Austrian cookie--a crescent-shaped vanilla almond cookie that is dusted in vanilla sugar. They are traditionally made at Christmas but are enjoyed all year round. These are similar to Russian tea cakes, but vanillekipferl are a little finer in texture and more vanilla in flavor (thanks to the vanilla sugar!).
Vanilla sugar is a common ingredient in European pastries, and pre-packaged vanilla sugar is readily available in European grocery stores. When my sister lived in Germany last year, she stocked me up! It's a little harder to find in US grocery stores, but it's easy to make: combine 2 cups of granulated sugar with the scraped seeds from one large vanilla bean into an airtight container, bury the bean in sugar and seal, and let it sit for two weeks. The longer it sits, the better it tastes!
When I was in Germany last month, I was on a hunt for springerle molds and found some other fun baking toys, which included crescent cookie baking sheets, so it was fun to make these in my new molds. :)
Make sure the dough is well chilled before you begin molding it into crescents, as this will make it much easier! After the cookies finish baking, let them sit for a few minutes on the baking sheets before dredging them in the confectioners' sugar. The cookies are very delicate and break easy, and I found that giving them a few minutes to "chill" made a difference.
These are easy peasy and very tasty! I look forward to sharing more sweet adventures this Christmas season. Happy baking!
Vanillekipferl (Melting Vanilla-Almond Crescents)
Yields 4 dozen cookies
175 grams all-purpose flour (1 2/3 cup plus 1 tbsp.)
120 grams butter, at room temperature
175 grams confectioners' sugar (1/4 cup for the cookie dough and 1 1/2 cup for dredging the baked cookies)
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (Vanillezucker) (1 tbsp. for the cookie dough and 1 tbsp. for mixing with the confectioners' sugar for dredging the baked cookies)
100 grams almond meal (1 cup)
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and confectioners' sugar. Mix on low speed until combined. Then, add the flour, almond meal, vanilla sugar, egg yolk, and salt. Mix on low until a smooth dough develops.
Divide the dough into three equal portions and roll each portion into a 1 inch cylinder. Wrap each roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 2 days.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.
Remove one roll from the refrigerator and cut it into 1/2 inch slices. Roll each slice until about 2 inches and the ends are slightly tapered. Form each into a crescent and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough until the sheets are full. The cookies will not spread too much, so they should have about 1 inch of same between them on each side.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cookies are just lightly browned. Repeat with the remaining dough.
After the cookies finish baking, allow them to sit on the baking sheet for about five minutes. While the cookies are sitting on the baking sheet, mix together 125 grams (1 1/4 cups) of the confectioners' sugar with 1 tbsp. of the vanilla sugar in a pie plate or a shallow bowl. Very carefully, dredge each cookie in the confectioners' sugar and place on a baking rack to finish cooking.
Source: Luisa Weiss' Classic German Baking