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December, Day 11: More German Christmas Cookies

11.December 2010

Do you like powdered sugar? I can’t ever decide where I come down on that question.  Obviously I see its value in situations where I need to make cake frosting, for instance.  But I’d never ever in a million years go for the powdered doughnut in the box.  It’s so messy and … powdery.

I’d normally also avoid cookies that are garnished with powdered sugar like the plague, but these make me reconsider.  These cookies are another German specialty – nutty and not too sweet, with a hefty punch of vanilla – TWO whole vanilla beans went into this, my friends.  The texture is crumbly and tender, but made un-boring by the presence of tiny bits of almond that didn’t quite get ground up.  Delicious.

And their shape, I think, is a nice change from the round-cookie-monopoly.  Looking at a cookie plate should be interesting, if you ask me, and there just aren’t that many crescent shaped cookies out there.

Anyway, do try these. But don’t inhale near them.  You’ll end up with a noseful of sugar.  Powdered sugar.

Maybe next time I’ll try them without and see if it’s necessary?

Vanillekipferl – Vanilla Crescents

Translated and adapted from the special Christmas Cookie edition of Essen & Trinken

A note on translation: From what I can tell, Kipferl comes from the noun Kipfer, which comes from the verb kippen (to pour or bend, maybe?) and means something like “little bends” (little coming from the -l ending).  Or it has something to do with an archaic term for a stone mason of some sort.  Or if you like, you could assume it comes from Kiffer, which means pothead.  Because if one were to have the munchies, this might just be a good solution.

  • 2 Vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped out
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 c corn starch (or potato)
  • 1 1/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1 c ground almonds
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter, sugar, egg yolk, salt, and vanilla seeds until fluffy.
  2. Mix together starch and flour and sift.  Mix ground almonds and flour mixture into butter mixture with the dough hook attachment.  Mix until the flour and almonds are incorporated and you have a smooth, elastic dough.
  3. Refrigerate 1 hour, then divide dough into eight equal pieces.
  4. Form each piece into a roll about 12 inches long, cover with plastic, and refrigerate 1 hour.
  5. Cut the dough rolls into 5 equal pieces (about 2 1/2 in long) and form into crescents.  place on prepared baking sheet (parchment or SilPat and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven as soon as the tips turn light brown.
  6. When the kipferl are just warm, sprinkle them carefully with the powdered sugar.  Cool on a cooling rack.
  7. These cookies will keep for about 4 weeks in an airtight container and stored between sheets of parchment.
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