Vanilla Kipferl take over my kitchen

by meike peters


The kitchen smells amazing. As soon as the Vanilla Kipferl are out of the oven they spread their sweetest, buttery smell. These small, crescent shaped cookies are perfect for the Advent season. They taste and look absolutely wonderful and the vanilla icing sugar dusting on top fits to the weather perfectly – it just started snowing!

Kipferl traditionally come from the South of Germany and their pastry is light and crumbly. A Vanilla Kipferl is a very delicate cookie with a buttery taste and a hint of vanilla. Don’t be deceived by their look, elegant as they may appear they are very easy to prepare. All you need is flour, butter, ground hazelnuts (or almonds) and sugar for the dough and icing sugar – enhanced with vanilla – for the dusting.

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Vanilla Kipferl

Makes about 60 kipferl

all-purpose flour 280g / 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons
ground hazelnuts or ground almonds 100g / 1 cup
granulated sugar 70g / 1/3 cup
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
unsalted butter, cold, 200g / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons

confectioners’ sugar 100g / 1 cup
vanilla sugar 3 tablespoons (you can make your own vanilla sugar by mixing the scraped out seeds of 1/4 vanilla pod with 50g / 1/4 cup of granulated sugar)

Combine the flour, hazelnuts, granulated sugar and salt. Add the butter and use a knife to cut the butter into the flour until there are just small pieces left. Continue with your fingers and quickly rub the butter into the flour until combined then mix, using the dough hooks, with an electric mixer until crumbly. Form the dough into a 3 cm / 1 1/4″ thick disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until relatively firm, or freeze for about 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F (preferably convection setting) and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift and mix the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla sugar.

Take the dough out of the fridge and cut off a 2.5 cm / 1″ thick slice, keep the remaining dough in the fridge. Cut the slice of dough into 1.25 cm / 1/2″ thick pieces. Use your hands to quickly roll each piece of dough into a ball then shape it into a roughly 9 cm / 3 1/2″ long kipferl (see the last picture). Continue shaping the remaining dough and arrange the kipferl generously spaced on the lined baking sheets.

Bake, 1 baking sheet at a time, for 11 to 12 minutes or until golden. Let the kipferl cool for 1-2 minutes. When they are too hot they might break but when they are completely cooled off the icing sugar won’t stick so well.

Turn the warm kipferl gently in the vanilla confectioners’ sugar mixture or sift the sugar over the kipferl. Once the kipferl are completely cool, store them in an airtight container.