Vanillekipferl are the most popular cookies during Christmas time in Austria! These vanilla flavored crescent shaped cookies are prepared by each household, we just can;t life without these delicious cookies in Austria!
Learn how to make the Vanillekipferl from scratch with my step by step instructions further below!
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Vanillakipferls are known to be a typical Viennese tradition, having been invented by a talented baker in Vienna some ~400 years back. Apparently after the Ottoman Turks had sieged Vienna in the 16th and 17th Century, the locals came up with the Vanillekipferl.
Kipferl meaning “moon/crescent shaped” was inspired by the Muslim/Turkish banner, which includes a moon, and so to comemorate the siege, they formed the cookies into a crescent – moon shape.
In Austria there are other pastries as well that are also called Kipferl, including croissants and stuffed pastries.
Apparently the Turks had sweets in that form as well and they were the ones to bring with them also pure vanilla and even coffee!
Thanks to the failed turk invasions, Vienna turned into one big Coffee house heaven with all the famous cakes and coffee types such as the Melange. The crescent shape itself traveled later on to France where the name was altered accordingly (Croissant).
We usually only bake cookies during Christmas, it’s how we celebrate this time of the year and then we organize cookie exchange with family, neighbor and friends. That we we get to taste different homemade Vanillekipferl from each household!
So while we judge each others vanillekipferl, we learn from each how to perfect our vanilla crescent cookies all the more. However don’t think an Austrian will share the little tricks on how they make theirs super flavorful or so tongue-melting good.
Yet I believe in sharing delicious food recipes with the world, as you know!
How to make Vanillekipferl cookies?
Vanillekipferl are easy to make, BUT they are also a bit tricky while shaping them into crescents as the dough is a short crust pastry.
If you have worked with shortcrust pastry before, then you will know what I mean with “tricky”.
The main basic ingredients to make a shortcrust are flour, butter and a tiny amount of water.
You might recall, that I have used shortcrust pastries in masses in my cooking. Quiche and Tart pastries for instance require a short crust pastry, just as well as the recent Spritzgebäck cookies that I had shared with you in the past.
Many friends have been telling me that they have trouble working with shortcrust pastries because they tend to break easily, while forming and after baking.
My Vanillekipferl recipes contain the correct ratio of ingredients, so the chances are very low that they break when you recreate them.
Follow these rules to make Vanillekipferl that don’t break and taste great!
- correct ratio of short crust pastry ingredients. So please follow my recipe to the dot!
- let your dough rest long enough in the fridge. The dough should be cold to prepare the cookies
- don’t work out the dough too much. Your warm hands will just make the butter in it too soft and the dough will fall apart. If that happens put it all together and back into the cold!
- shape the Vanillekipferl thicker. If they are too thin they tend to break very easily
- Bake at exact temperature and time. 200 Celsius (392 Fahrenheit) and 10 minutes!
- Once baked, let the cookies cool for minimum 2-3 minutes before rolling them in the vanilla. Letting them cool allows the flour to stick together better and the cookies are less likely to break later on.
My Vanillekipferl recipe is a mixture of different recipes that I have worked out over time into a new great recipe.
Hazelnuts are usually the prefered choice by locals in Austria when making the vanilla crescents, but we don’t get hazelnuts that easily at times, so I used almond flour instead. You can also use walnut flour if you prefer, the choice is up to you!
The traditional short crust pastry for the kipferl does not include eggs. Yet, if you would add an egg, the dough wouldn’t break that easily and hold together better. This Vanillekipferl recipe doesn’t include an egg however I used almond flour and that is a little secret helper because almond flour binds very well and holds together the cookie.
By the way, since I used Almonds here, it will kind of help the cookies to rise a bit in the oven. Almond is known to be an excellent Egg substitute.
The trick of any good Vanillekipferl is the sugar coating!
I use a home made vanilla sugar mixture which is awesome when used while coating.
Homemade Vanilla sugar is easy to make, you just need sugar and Vanilla beans. Simply cut the vanilla bean into half, take out all the seeds and add it to 100 grams sugar in a high jar or similar, and add the empty vanilla bean as well. Close the jar and shake well.
Shake the jar everyday for at least 10 days! Then I grind the sugar to powder. You can mix the Vanilla seeds with powdered sugar from the beginning. I prefer grinding it at the end together with the vanilla seeds. It’s an easy “recipe” and that’s how you make your own Vanilla Sugar.
Otherwise you can also use the packed vanilla sugar from the store and mix it with powdered sugar for the coating after the baking, but the taste is different.
I like the natural vanilla bean flavor!
Vanillekipferl – Austrian Vanilla Crescent Cookies Recipe [Egg-less] below:
- 150 grams soft Butter or 5.3oz or ⅔ cup
- 70 grams powdered Sugar 2.5oz or ⅓ of a cup
- 8 grams Vanilla sugar 'homemade or store bought mixed with some regular powdered sugar or 2 Teaspoons
- 100 grams Almond Flour/Almond mealor 3.5oz or almost ½ cup
- 200 grams all purpose Flour or 7oz or almost 1 cup
- Vanilla Sugar
- Start by mixing the soft butter, powdered sugar and vanilla sugar smooth.
- Then add sieved white flour and almond flour to the mixture and incorporate the ingredients with your hands to a smooth pastry. For example there shouldn't be any visible butter pieces, that's when you know you have mixed it enough. Don't work it out anymore or the dough won't hold together later!
- Keep it to rest minimum 1 h in the fridge or in a cool place. I keep mine always over night, so that the flavor in my cookies turn more intense.
- Once ready to be used, form the dough into a sausage shape with a 2 cm thickness. Cut thick slices so, that each should be around 20 grams (0.7oz) heavy.
- Preheat the oven to 200 Celsius or 392 Fahrenheit!
- Roll each "sausage" pastry slice into a smaller sausage with pointed ends and shape it into a half moon/crescent form.
- Place them onto a baking tray, each with enough space around to rise a bit, and bake them for 10 minutes a 200 Celsius to a light yellow shade.
- While the cookies are baking, prepare a plate with the home made Vanilla sugar.
- Add the cookies to the homemade Vanilla sugar in the plate, once they are finished baked and they have cooled down for at least 1-2 minutes and roll them and coat them well with that sugar.
- Best stored in a metal Cookie boxed with baking paper (butter paper) and apple slices on top. Note that the Vanillakipferl cookies are very fragile and might break when coming out of the oven, that is why you should give them 1-2 minutes to rest. During that time they harden when they take contact with air. It's important to roll them into the homemade Vanilla sugar when they are still hot, so that the sugar sticks on the cookies!
More Austrian cookie recipes 🍪
More Vanilla flavors! 🍮
Dear Reader, let us know in the comment section below if you have baked your own batch of vanillekipferl cookies!
Updated Post: original post published for the first time at masalaherb.com on 1st December 2012