I guess everybody has their favourite Christmas cookies. Among mine are Vanillekipferl (How do you translate that? They're a sort of vanilla-flavoured crumbling cookies). So every year before Christmas, I humbly try to recreate that specific taste that I've grown up with. After trying a few different recipes from books, I eventually asked my mother for her recipe. With that, I'm getting closer but still don't quite match hers ...
- 300g of wheat (the plain white sort)
- 125g of ground almonds (the finer the better)
- 125g of white sugar
- 1 sachet of vanilla sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 250g of butter
- 3 egg yolk (we won't need the egg white - see if you can use it for something else)
- more vanilla sugar and powdered sugar for the decoration
My mother usually gets about 80 Vanillekipferl out of this. I tend to make them a little smaller and end up with about 100.
- Mix the wheat, the sugars, and the ground almonds.
- Scrape the contents out of the vanilla bean and add that (not the peel, of course), together with the butter and the yolk.
- Knead until you've got a proper dough.
- Form a big ball, wrap it in foil and put it in the refrigerator for an hour.
Time to relax and do something else for a while. Or clean up the kitchen ...
- Heat up the oven to 175 C (degrees Celcius).
- Form little balls, roll them into rolls and bend them into a U shape, then put them on a baking sheet.
- The actual baking time will heavily depend on your oven. Plan for a maximum of 12 minutes, but start watching them carefully after about 8 minutes. When they get dark at the corners, check the underside and remove them from the oven once it gets brown.
- Turn the hot Kipferl in the extra vanilla sugar (spread on a plate, for example) - both sides.
- Put them on a grate, dust them with the powdered sugar and let them cool out for a couple of hours.
Bonus tip: Keep the Vanillekipferl in a cookie jar. To prevent them from drying up too much, put a small slice from an apple into the jar (on a piece of aluminum foil, so it doesn't get in contact with the cookies). Replace the slice every couple of days (twice a week or so). This also works with many other cookies!