Vanillekipferln (Vanilla nut crescents) Christmas Baking with SusieJ

Measurements [metric]

  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 3 oz almonds, finely ground
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 9 Tb butter, softened

Sugar coating

  • 2/3 c powdered sugar
  • 2 Tb sugar
  • 2 Tb vanilla sugar (optional)

Sift flour into a bowl and stir in ground almonds. Create a well in the middle of the flour. Beat egg with vanilla and pour into the well of the flour mixture. Add sugar and salt. Cut butter into pieces of about a tablespoon, and add. Mix everything on low speed until a ball of smooth dough forms. (If mixing by hand, use your hands to knead together into a ball of dough.) Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper and cool in refrigerator for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Divide the dough into four pieces. Roll each piece into a log 1/2 to 3/4 inch thich. Cut the log into pieces about 2 inches long. Taper the ends of each piece, and bend into a crescent. Bake 12 to 15 minutes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Stir sugars together in a small bowl for the coating.

When cookies are cool enough to handle — two or three minutes after coming out of the oven — dredge each cookie in the mixed sugars. Tap off any excess sugar and allow cookies to cool on a rack. (Wax paper or paper towels under the cooling rack will catch any powdered sugar that falls off.)

This is perhaps the easiest cookie I have ever made, requiring no special techniques, not even creaming butter (let alone beating whites until stiff and glossy). Anyone who can measure and use a mixer, can make these cookies. Proof that a great cookie can use simple techniques and ingredients.

Kipferln are a rich and nutty, and not too sweet. In texture they are similar to Russian tea balls and Mexican wedding cakes, or a shortbread with nuts.

And no, there is no baking powder or sugar in this cookie.

Like many German cookies, Kipferln use ground nuts. You can either grind your own nuts in a food processor, or buy pre-ground nuts from specialty stores. In Philadelpia, The Spice Terminal sells pre-ground nuts.