These vanilla crescent cookies are one of our holiday must haves. They are such a classic where I live, and for a good reason. These cookies are so crispy, but have that melt-in-your-mouth texture. Of course, they are packed with vanilla flavour because I made them with my homemade vanilla sugar, but if you are not using vanilla sugar, definitely make an extra step and scrape some vanilla bean seeds into the cookie dough. Since not many ingredients are in the cookies, they should all be the right ones and vanilla really shines through this cookie.
Not a lot sugar is put into the cookie dough as they are supposed to be coated in powdered sugar, so keep that in mind in case you don’t feel like coating them in sugar or think that the amount of sugar in the dough is not right. The final cookie turns out perfectly, I promise. They are super easy to put together and the shaping of the cookies goes really fast as you don’t have to roll the dough and cut the cookies out, you just cut it into pieces and form little crescents.
I used to make them with a combination of walnuts and almonds. I actually think that the original vanilekipferl are made with walnuts only. And I had that version of recipe on my website until now. But having made them this year, I tried to put all almonds and guess what – I think I prefer them that way. They turned out just a tiny bit firmer (walnuts are greasier, so I guess that’s why), but incredibly crispy. Also, almonds are my favourite nuts, I just love their subtle sweetish, but classy flavour. So I decided to update my original recipe, but feel free to substitute almonds for walnuts or hazelnuts or use the combination of nuts in any ratio you want. You know, go nuts! =)
I like to make smaller crescents, bite size because I think they look super cute that way. They are such a perfect Chistmas cookie – crispy, flavourful and look so festive and cute dusted in powdered sugar. Make them, they are really easy, but soooo good, just trust me!
preparation time: about 2 hours 45 minutes, includes minimum time for cooling the dough
baking time: 10 minutes, 100°C (350 F), for roasting the nuts
10 – 15 minutes, 180°C (350 F)
Ingredients for the cookie dough:
180 g almonds*
220 g soft butter
90 g vanilla sugar (or regular sugar + scraped vanilla seeds from half vanilla bean)
2 egg yolks
240 g all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
powder sugar for coating
*I took an extra step and blanched the almonds because I wanted the dough to loook lighter. Blanching almonds is really easy – simply place them all at once into a pot of hot, almost boiling water. Keep them in for literally 30 seconds to a minute and take them out. Let them cool slightly and peel off the skin. Just press them on one end and they should poke right out. If you can find blanched almonds in the supermarket, go ahead and use those or simply use raw almonds, it will not make a difference in flavour.
1. Start by roasting the almonds to enhance their flavour. Also, if you have blanched them as I did, they need some time in the oven to dry out and crisp up. Roast them shortly in a hot oven (about 10 minutes at 180°C/350 F) and then grind finely using a food processor.
2. Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, cream together soft butter and sugar. Once the sugar is completely melted, add eff yolks and vanilla seeds if you are using them. Cream everything together well until the mixture is homogenous and frothy.
3. Sift together flour and salt and add them into the mixture of butter, sugar and eggs. Add ground almonds as well. Now, using a spatula, your hands or an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment start putting the dough togther (I have an electric mixer with either whisk or hook attachments. Paddle works fine for both fases of this recipe, but if you decide to finish the dough with a mixer and you don’t have a paddle, switch to a hook attachment). Don’t overmix it. It will be soft, so as soon as everything is well incorporated, stop mixing.
4. Form the dough into 2 thin logs (about 4 cm/1,5 in diameter), cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hour. I left mine over night and it was perfect. If you are in a hurry, put the dough into freezer for about half an hour.
5. Take refrigerated dough out and then cut small equal pieces. Take each piece, roll it quickly to a smaller log and bend each end to form a crescent or a horseshoe. Put the cookies on the prepared baking pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/350 F for about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on th size of the cookies. Mine were really small, so I baked them for 10 minutes exactly. Check them after about 8 to 9 minutes to see how fast they progress. They should get darker at the bottom and ever so slightly around the edges, but should not brown on the top.
6. Very important step: as soon as you take them out of the oven, let them set on the baking pan for 5-10 minutes (place the pan on the wire rack to stop from baking any further). As they are very crispy, they are also very fragile and might crack if you try to move them imediately. Letting them set will make them firmer and they will not crack when you handle them. Be gentle though.
7. Dust the crescents thoroughly with icing sugar while they are still warm. The warmth from the cookies will make the icing sugar stick and will create a sweet coating. Enjoy them with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and have a delicious Christmas movienight!