Fly Me to the Moon - the Vanilla Crescent Moon!
Nuremberg Vanillekipferl or Vanilla Crescents
They are certainly one of the most popular cookies at Christmas time – the Vanilla Crescent or Vanillekipferl. Light and fluffy vanilla batter, the classic crescent shape generously sprinkled with icing sugar…it’s moon-shaped yumminess!
“Kipferl” is a dialect word common in Bavaria and Austria referring to a crescent-shaped pastry (in Austria croissants are also called crescents).
Recipe for quick Vanillekipferl
Here’s a recipe for simple version of the Vanilla Crescent cookies:
- 250 g flour (2 cups)
- 80 g icing sugar (about 2/3 cup)
- 150 g butter (best if it’s really cold)(about 1 and 1/3 sticks)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 packet of vanilla sugar (Dr. Oetker)
- 150 g ground almonds (also known as almond meal – you can grind your own blanched almonds in a food processor or buy almond meal in the nut and/or cake mix section of the grocery store)
- 1 pinch of salt
Combine the ingredients for the dough in a mixing bowl and knead. Tip: Making sure the butter is very cold and is cut up into small cubes makes this step easier). Wrap the dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
A vegan version of vanilla crescents can be prepared by leaving out the eggs and replacing the butter with margarine. Even diabetics can enjoy vanilla crescents by omitting the eggs and replacing the butter by diet margarine.
So how do you get the dough into the right shape?
There are various options for forming the dough into the crescent shape. The most common is to simply shape the dough by hand. Form the dough into a large roll and then cut into pieces about 0.5 cm thick. Then gently roll these pieces and bend them into the crescent shape.
You could also use a crescent-shaped cookie cutter for Vanillekipferl. Roll out the dough onto a floured surface, press in the cutter and…finished.
Or, option 3: purchase a baking tray made especially for Vanillekipferl. Press the dough lightly into the forms of the tray and bake. I understand that it is a bit difficult getting them out at the end of the process.
Last Step: Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius (375 Fahrenheit). Place formed vanilla crescents on a baking sheet leaving some space between each crescent. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes. After baking and while the crescents are still warm (although not hot) place each cookie in a bowl of icing sugar mixed with vanilla sugar and turn to coat and place on a dry surface to cool.
How does Oma make the Crescents so light and fluffy?
Really good vanilla crescents melt on the tongue, seem weightless and are wonderfully fluffy. Accomplishing what your Oma made seem so easy is all in the preparation of the dough – use really cold butter and allow the dough to rest in the fridge for at least an hour and preferably two. Professional bakers would even refrigerate the mixing bowl before preparing the dough.
The flavor of vanilla takes time to unfold. The little pastries have the best flavor after about a week. Vanillekipferl will keep up to six weeks when stored in an airtight container. Because the pastry is very fragile, individual layers should be separated between parchment paper.
No time to bake? Simply order Vanillekipferl
If you’re like me, you have good intentions of baking at Christmas but get overwhelmed with all the busy-ness of the season. No problem…you can order Vanillekipferl and many other German Christmas treats from Gingerbread World: Lebkuchen from the Schmidt bakeries in Nuremberg (including Vanillekipferl) as well as German chocolates and marzipans.
Visit our online shop at www.gingerbread-world.com or call us for a catalog at 800-309-5559.
If you are looking for more German Christmas recipes check out the Blog “Baking in Saskatoon – From Leipziger Lerche to Cupcake and Anything In-between”. She has a recipe for Vanilla Crescents at http://bakinginsaskatoon.com/2011/11/22/vanillekipferl/