Day 12 - Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies)

10:21 PM

For my last recipe this year, I've asked one of my awesome sisters-in-law do a guest post. She texted me about some awesome cookies she made right as I was trying to figure out how to get this last post up, since we were leaving early for Christmas to beat the storms.  How perfect is that?!  SO without further ado, here's my sister-in-law:

Hi folks! Allyson’s sister-in-law Susan here and I’m tickled to be featuring a guest post on her blog. To give you some background, here’s basically how this assignment happened:

Me: Made these cookies. Thought of Ally. Texted Ally: “Hey, Ally! If you need another cookie recipe for your blog, I just made these and they are 👌👌👌.”

Ally: “Yes! I switched things up and need one more! Wanna do a guest post?”

Me: “Sure! Why not?!” - Had already eaten half the cookies. 

Ally: “Don’t eat all the cookies, take a pretty picture, and send me the info.” 

Voila. You have me here to tell you all bout these scrumptious, melt-in-your-mouth German vanilla moon cookies. Although my first note here is that it’s not my own recipe but rather an adaptation of this lovely one by PlatesCravings that I found on Pinterest, I did live in Germany for 18 months and sampled a smorgasbord of German recipes while there. I ended up collecting many while there and while this wasn’t one, it did live up to my expectations. 

That being said, my decision to make these vanilla moon cookies was a spontaneous one and the original recipe called for things I didn’t have in my regular pantry (primarily vanilla bean and vanilla sugar). So if you’re like me, fear not! I made a few tweaks to accommodate my pantry’s lack and the cookies still turned out amazing. Here’s what I did:

  1. Cut the recipe in half. It made a dozen cookies when halved, which was plenty for our little family of three.
  2. Where the recipe calls for vanilla bean, I used about 1 tsp of vanilla extract instead. I also added about 1/2 tsp of almond extract because I like it in melty cookies like these.
  3. Used walnuts instead of almonds. I feel like they taste better for crumbly doughs like this. I used a food processor to pulverize the walnuts and then...
  4. Used the food processor to mix all ingredients instead of a hand mixer or Kitchen-Aid. You’ll notice the original recipe calls for chunks of cold butter. You do not want the butter to melt or soften much, so a food processor works best to chop up the cold butter and mix the other ingredients quickly so you can hand finish it and roll it for the fridge (watch the quick video on PlatedCravings to see what I mean here).
  5. Used plain powdered sugar instead of vanilla sugar. The original recipe swears by the vanilla sugar, but while I’m sure they would have tasted even yummier with it, regular powdered sugar worked just fine for us.
  6. Made my own powdered sugar shaker. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I don’t have a flour/sugar sifter or metal sieve. So I placed a piece of aluminum foil over a small jar with powdered sugar in it, fastened it with a rubber band and gently poked small holes in it with a fork. It worked well enough. 

As a side note, joining the cookies the pretty picture Ally requested is my quaint little German nativity set I purchased at a Christmas market in Hamburg. It currently fits most pieces (the third wise man currently has a broken arm) inside this adorable “Beauty-and-the-Beast” glass dome I found while shopping with Ally at a farmer’s market a few years ago. This is its sixth year as a part of my Christmas decor. Finally, my next German baking ambition this season is to try homemade Lebkuchen, which I’ve been cautioned is quite a process and a treat that most of the German friends I’ve queried for a recipe have said they just buy instead of make. So wish me luck!

Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies)
  • 1 c. all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 6 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 6 Tbsp ground walnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Approx 1/2 c. powdered sugar for dusting

Combine flour, salt, cold cubed butter, powdered sugar, ground nuts and extracts in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until it comes together in a crumbly dough.  

Gather and squish dough together, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for one hour in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the chilled dough into a log, about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces, roll them into small cylinders and taper the ends.  Bend each one into a crescent shape.  Place on the baking sheet about 1 inch apart.  

Bake the cookies for 12 -15 minutes, until the edges are golden. DO NOT BROWN the cookies!

Sift the powdered sugar over the hot cookies.  Allow them to cool completely, then give them a second dusting.

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