The following recipe is from the December 9 edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here!
Christmas in Austria wouldn't be complete without Vanilla Kipferl, little moon-shaped cookies made of nothing more than butter, sugar, flour, and ground toasted almonds, finished off by a dusting in vanilla sugar.
This recipe from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion puts the food processor to good use, first by grinding freshly toasted almonds into an aromatic flour, and then to make the vanilla sugar. A whole vanilla bean is pulsed in the food processor with sugar to create a sweet coating speckled with tiny dark flecks and full of the kind of vanilla flavor that only comes from the whole bean.
Austrians are no slouches when it comes to pastry, and these kipferl are no exception. The little extra steps that it takes to grind the almonds and vanilla sugar shine through in these crescent cookies.
- Yield:57 cookies
- For the dough
- 7/8 cup (1 3/4 sticks, 7 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons (3 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups (7 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- Scant 2 1/3 cups (7 1/2 ounces) almond flour (ground almonds), preferably toasted
- For the vanilla sugar
- 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) superfine or castor sugar
- 1/2 to 1 vanilla bean
In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, salt, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour and almond flour, stirring to make a cohesive dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
Break off walnut-sized pieces of the dough, and roll them into short (about 2-inch) logs. Shape the logs into crescents, then gently press to flatten them slightly. Place the cookies on the prepared sheets.
Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, until they're a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven and let cool on the pan for 10 minutes.
While the cookies are cooling, process the sugar and vanilla bean in a food processor or blender until the bean is thoroughly ground. Place the vanilla sugar in a shallow bowl. While the cookies are still warm, gently roll them in the vanilla sugar. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely.