I’ve gotta say: those Germans and Austrians know what they’re doing when it comes to baking. These deliciously crumbly biscuits are a great, luxurious option to bake for your Christmas party.
My friend Nadine shops for baking groceries in Germany a lot, and it so happens that Germany has awesome baking magazines. Case in point is magazine Sweet Dreams which is unavailable outside of Germany. Luckily, Nadine ordered the Christmas edition of this magazine at her local German grocery store and passed it on to me. It was filled to the brim with lovely recipes, but these crumbly vanilla ‘kipferl’ caught my eye.
Kipferl biscuits are a very delicate, crescent shaped biscuits which are said to have originated in Austria. They are a typical Christmas treat in Germany and Austria but are sold all year round in Viennese coffee shops. You might have read my article on croissants, where the crescent shape of the croissant is said to have symbolized the Hungarian victory over the Turkish army – the same legend surrounds these biscuits.
My magazine notes these cookies are für anfänger (for beginners) but really, they are not. The dough is very difficult to work with both before and after hardening in the fridge. You really have to be patient when shaping the dough, so I wouldn’t suggest baking these on a whim. Don’t let any of this scare you off though, they are well worth the effort! A real Christmas activity I would say. I love Christmas baking, and plan it way in advance. Let me know in the comments what your Christmas baking plans are, I’m very curious!
Yields 40 biscuits
Equipment: baking tray, parchment paper, clingfilm
140gr butter at roomtemperature
1 egg yolk
70gr castor sugar
the seeds of 2 vanilla pods
pinch of salt
120gr all-purpose flour
70gr ground almonds
1 sachet of vanilla sugar (use homemade vanilla sugar for a more intense flavor)
80gr icing sugar
1. Whisk the butter, egg yolk, sugar, vanilla seeds and salt for about 3 minutes until it looks pale and creamy.
2. Sift the flour and cornflour into a bowl and add it to the butter mixture, together with the ground almonds. Quickly work into a dough.
3. Divide your dough into 8 equal pieces and shape them into 30cm/12inch strings. Wrap the strings in clingfilm and leave to cool in the fridge for 60 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Divide your strings into 6cm/2 1/2 inch pieces. Carefully form each piece into a crescent shape and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake the kipferln for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned at the ends.
5. Mix the vanilla sugar and icing sugar together in a bowl. Once the biscuits are baked, leave them on the baking tray for a minute, and while they are still warm, cover them in the sugar mixture. Leave the kipferln to cool on a wire rack.
Source: Sweet Dreams Magazine nov/dec issue 2013
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