Every year my Oma (grandma) when she was around, my mother and aunts spend a lot of time in December baking. For anyone with a sweet tooth, this is the best time of year in my family. There are probably a hundred (maybe not that many) Weinachtsgeback (Christmas biscuit) variations but the Vanillekipferl (vanilla crescents) is one of my absolute favourite, they are always the first to be eaten.
These biscuits originate from Austria, but are also baked in Germany at Christmas time (as well in Hungry and the Czech Republic).
The dough is quite fragile, as the dough has the same consistency as shortcrust pastry, but with a bit of patience it’s easy enough to mould. Making these now as an adult, I can understand why my mother didn’t want us to help as children. They do take a little patience but they are the first biscuits I bake, as they are the best.
This is a family recipe so please give credit where credit is due: www.foodwondersoftheworld.com
- 210 gr unsalted butter
- 140 gr sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
- 140 gr ground almonds
- 280 gr plain flour
- knife tip of baking powder
- icing sugar for decoration
Turn the oven on to 170 C / 340 F.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars until creamy.
Add the almonds, flour and baking powder and mix well. You may need to use your hands. Roll into a ball of dough (this is quite crumbly, but just make sure all ingredients are mixed in well).
Take a small piece of dough (about a heaped teaspoon) and roll into a snake shape about 10 cm / 4 inches long and then form into a horseshoe shape. Continue with the rest of the dough.
Place the biscuits on a greased oven tray with some space between each, as they do rise a little. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes. You want them to be quite light coloured.
Once baked, leave on the tray for 5 minutes and then carefully remove and cool on a cooling rack.
Once cooled slightly roll the Vanillekipferl in icing sugar. Merry Christmas!