The other day I was baking with my friends and it reminded me how much I love doing that at Christmas time. Everyone had prepared dough at home, brought it along and then together we rolled out, cut cookies, made shapes, baked and decorated. Afterwards we all went home with boxes full of various cookies. My husband said I smelled like vanilla sugar for days. It’s a fabulous way to get ready for Christmas and I loved putting the cookies in little bags, tie bows and it all made me feel very prepared. Since then I have given them out to friends and family and snuck a few in myself with my morning coffee.
This bake-off was an all-round wonderful event except for the unsettling fact that one my doughs utterly failed! Vanille Kipferl is crescent shaped cookie and when you bake it it NEVER looks like the picture that comes with the recipe. Mainly because once it’s in the oven it doesn’t keep its shape (due to the high butter content is my best guess). But on this occasion it completely flattened, not just a little bit.
I’m not one for testing recipes much. I figure if it works it works and if it doesn’t there are too many other ones out there to try! But for some reason this time I really wanted to work out which Vanille Kipferl recipe I should keep in my repertoire.
So back at home I made it again, along with two other recipes, to see which one would work the best. Some happy taste testers were invited to share their opinion and everyone chose the same recipe. It was the one I had initially baked with my friends! This time I had just taken a lot more care in refridgerating the dough at it’s various stages. There you go, the devil is in the detail. When you bake them, make sure not to skip this step. It keeps them together and they hold their shape much better. If the dough is at room temperature they go very flat (they still taste good though, so no dramas if it doesn’t work on the first try).
Make life sweeter!
- 2 vanilla pods
- 140g butter
- 70g caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- pinch of salt
- 50g corn starch (Mondamin, if you’re in Germany)
- 120g flour
- 70g ground almonds
Options for sprinkling:
- powdered sugar (mixed with vanilla sugar if you like)
- pure vanilla sugar
- flaked almonds (you will need to brush them with egg white for it to stick)
- Preheat oven to 180C (160C when fan forced)
- Scrape out the vanilla pods.
- Quickly work butter, sugar, egg yolk, pinch of salt, vanilla mark, corn starch, flour and almond meal into a smooth dough. It may be quite a wet dough, don’t worry about that.
- Roll into a ball as much as you can and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Cut the dough into small pieces, it should make about 40. (Originally the recipe says to divide the dough into 8 pieces, roll them into long thin rolls and refrigerate for 1 hour, then cut into 6 pieces each. I couldn’t quite be bothered to do that and did it a bit more freestyle.)
- Form into crescents and refrigerate them for an hour (don’t skip this step, it proved vital).
- (If you’d like to use almond flakes, brush the crescents lightly with egg white and sprinkle with the flakes.)
- Bake them on the lower rack for about 10-12 minutes. Take them out when when they start to brown, they should remain very light.
- Sprinkle with your choice of powdered sugar or vanilla sugar if you haven’t used almond flakes.