These German Vanillekipferl (Almond Crescent Cookies) are a hit you won't want to miss.
Made with simple ingredients like butter, vanilla sugar, and almonds, they're as tasty as they are easy to whip up.
Best of all, these shortbread cookies are easy to make. Their distinctive almond and vanilla flavor combination makes them incredibly addicting.
Dusted with vanilla-infused sugar, these delicious cookies will have everyone reaching for more.
Why This Vanillekipferl Recipe Works
INGREDIENTS - All of the ingredients are staples you can easily find in your local supermarket.
COOKIE EXCHANGE - These cookies are also a great recipe for a cookie exchange. As an added bonus, when baking these German cookies, your house will be filled with the most wonderful Christmas-y aromas.
Please check the recipe card below for a detailed, printable ingredient list.
ALMONDS - Grind the whole almonds in a food processor. I've always ground the almonds myself, but technically speaking, you could also use almond meal (not almond flour) like the ones you can find at Trader Joe's.
FLOUR - Use all-purpose flour for this recipe.
BUTTER - Be sure to use unsalted butter. Allow the butter to rise to room temperature.
SUGAR - We’ll need three types of sugar for this recipe:
- Vanilla Sugar - you can find Dr. Oetker Vanilla Sugar in the baking aisle of most major supermarkets. For this recipe, you will need 4 sachets.
- Granulated sugar - Regular, plain sugar.
- Confectioners sugar - also known as powdered sugar. If you don't have any, you can make your own by blending granulated sugar in a food processor until it's superfine, powdery sugar.
NUTS - Although I always use almonds for my Vanillekipferl cookies, you can also try ground hazelnuts or ground walnuts.
How To Make Vanillekipferl (Almond Crescent Cookies)
Please check the recipe card below for a detailed, printable ingredient list.
- ALMONDS - Grind the almonds using a small food processor.
- DOUGH - Use an electric mixer to combine the butter, granulated sugar, vanilla sugar, and flour. Add in the ground almonds.
- SHAPE AND CHILL - Form the dough into a large ball, wrap it in plastic, and let it chill for 15 minutes.
- BAKE AND COAT - Shape the dough into crescents, bake at 350º Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, and then dust with the vanilla sugar mixture.
RECIPE TIP - You will have to work quickly once the cookies are ready to be rolled in the sugar mixture. And I recommend baking off the cookies one baking tray at a time because if you bake multiple trays in one batch, the cookies might cool too much, and the sugar won't stick.
Traditionally, Christmas cookies are stored in tin cans like this one in Germany. Vanillekipferl cookies are a modified shortbread cookie recipe. And shortbread cookies last for weeks without spoiling.
STORE - Put your Almond Crescent Cookies in an airtight cookie jar to keep them fresh. Stored this way, you can enjoy them for up to 3-4 weeks.
FREEZE - If you want to make these treats last even longer, slide them into a zip-top freezer bag and stash them in the freezer. They'll stay tasty for 4-5 months, ready to satisfy future cookie cravings.
REHEAT - When you're ready to eat them again, you've got options. For a quick treat, microwave the cookies for 10 seconds to bring out their original texture. Alternatively, let them thaw naturally at room temperature if you're not in a rush.
SPEKULATIUS - Classic German spice shortbread cookies. Made with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and even a dash of white pepper. These sweet shortbread cookies are simple and incredibly delicious.
Vanilla sugar is a standard ingredient in a lot of German baking recipes.
While in the US, we use vanilla extract, in Germany, we use vanilla sugar. You could use vanilla extra to make the dough; it wouldn't work for the sugar coating. So you have a couple of choices. Buy it at your local supermarket or make your own.
HOMEMADE VANILLA SUGAR - You can also easily make your own vanilla sugar. My Oma (grandmother in German) always made her own vanilla sugar.
- Store granulated sugar in a dedicated airtight container and add a used vanilla bean to the sugar.
- Vanilla beans have tons of flavor; keep them in the jar with sugar for weeks and months. Over time the aroma of the vanilla bean infuses the sugar and turns it "vanilla sugar."
STORE-BOUGHT VANILLA SUGAR - But since you'll probably want to make the recipe straight away, I recommend buying or ordering Dr. Oetker's Vanilla Sugar. Most major supermarkets (except Whole Foods or Trader Joe's) carry this sugar. You'll find it in the baking aisle.
This recipe has roots in several countries, and you'll find different versions in Austria, Hungary, the former Czech Republic, and Slovakia. All of these now-independent countries were once part of the mighty Austrian-Hungarian empire.
Without going too deep into European history, said empires came and fell, and people moved a lot in the first half of the 20th century and took their recipes to their new homes.
As with many other German recipes, this is a traditional recipe and the recipe I was taught at home. But depending on where your family comes from, recipes might vary.
So, for instance, someone from another region might have a recipe made with eggs or egg yolks. I've even seen recipes using baking powder. This sounds all wrong to me because you don't want a leavening agent in this type of cookie. But of course, it's not wrong for the person who grew up with this recipe variation.
Is there a difference between Vanillekipferl, Almond Crescent Cookies, and Vanilla Crescent Cookies? No. But you can easily see how a recipe that's so popular in many parts of Europe ends up with a variety of names.
Just For Dog Lovers
Now I understand not everybody feeds their dog human food. But I think it's okay to share a special treat with your favorite pup - in moderation.
Before giving anything to our pup, we ensure it's dog-friendly. It turns out dogs love the taste of almonds. That being said, almonds can also be difficult to digest for dogs.
So if you want to spoil your pup and share a cookie, make sure he or she doesn't have a super sensitive stomach.
I've crumbled a bit of almond cookie over Riley's dry food and had a very happy pup who was busy licking his food bowl.
More Easy Cookie Recipes
CINNAMON TWISTS - Inspired by the German "Zimtstangen," this recipe has just four simple ingredients.
KEY LIME COOKIES - Light and airy cookies. Try making these with Meyer's Lemons!
PISTACHIO PUDDING COOKIES - Simple, soft, chewy, and delicious!
STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE COOKIES - Tender and moist cookies are always gone in no time and are a great, no-bake cookie recipe.
OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES - Soft, chewy, and quick to make. This is my go-to recipe when anyone in my family is craving cookies.
Vanillekipferl (Almond Crescent Cookies)
FOR THE DOUGH
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
- Grind almonds in a small food processor.
- Beat butter, granulated sugar, vanilla sugar, and flour in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Gradually add in the ground almonds. Continue to beat until the dough becomes crumbly.
- Transfer the dough onto a work surface and shape it into a large dough ball. Wrap the dough ball in plastic and chill for 15 minutes.
- Use a cookie scoop to make tablespoon-sized dough balls. Shape the dough balls into about 4-inch rolls and form them into crescent shapes. Place the cookies onto the baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 350º Fahrenheit. Allow the cookies to cool for 2-3 minutes. They should still be warm but not hot.
- Combine powdered sugar and vanilla sugar in a shallow bowl.
- Dust the warm almond crescent cookies with the sugar mixture. Transfer the cookies onto a cooling rack until they have completely cooled.