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Vanillekipferl – Crescent Cookies

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Vanillekipferl, the delicate, crescent-shaped cookies dusted with a light sprinkle of powdered sugar, are a classic treat deeply rooted in the heart of European baking traditions. Originating from Austria, these cookies have become a beloved staple during the holiday season, transcending borders to be enjoyed in homes across the globe.

Vanille kipferl on a black plate, dusted with powdered sugar.Pin
Vanille Kipferl

With their signature tender crumb and rich vanilla flavor, Vanillekipferl effortlessly captures the essence of festive cheer. They are quite popular in European countries, including Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.

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In this recipe, we will explore the art of crafting these exquisite cookies. From selecting the finest ingredients to mastering the perfect crescent shape, every step is a delightful journey into the world of traditional baking.

Whether you’re a seasoned baker or trying your hand at these cookies for the first time, this guide will easily lead you through the process, promising a batch of Vanillekipferl that tastes heavenly and brings a piece of European charm to your holiday table. So, gather your ingredients and embark on this sweet adventure together!

Vanillekipferl cookies are known by many names. One of the most popular originates from the cookies’ origin, Viennese crescents or just crescent cookies. In different European countries, they are known by various names.

Viennese crescents are considered shortbread cookies. This translates from the fact that they contain no eggs. Cookies that don’t contain eggs are not soft and chewy. They are, instead, buttery and crisp.

They’re relatively easy and only contain four ingredients. They can be a bit tricky to roll, but with a bit of practice and our step-by-step instructions, they will work well. Lots of recipes online have added an egg or two to make the dough easier to work with, but know that if you do, you will lose that buttery crisp texture that they are so famous for.

Why should you make these?

  • This vintage Christmas cookie has a delicious, delicate vanilla flavor and a buttery melt-in-your-mouth texture.
  • They are perfect for gifting, cookie platters, or even a dessert grazing board.
  • You can customize them by using different nuts, adding citrus zest, or trying different spices, like cinnamon.
  • They are better for you and taste loads better than store-bought cookies.
  • You are creating memories. Christmas time is the perfect time to spend time in the kitchen with loved ones. Get the kids involved. You will make lasting memories for them that they will pass on to their own kids.

What you need

  • Butter: Always use unsalted butter in baking unless the recipe specifies salted butter. You can substitute vegan butter substitute to make these cookies vegan.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour is fine.
  • Sugar: Original recipes call for vanilla sugar or powdered vanilla sugar, but you can substitute regular white granulated sugar or confectioner sugar. Add one teaspoon of vanilla extract to the dough if you do.
  • Nuts: Recipes vary. Most recipes use almonds, but walnuts or hazelnuts are often substituted for the almonds. Use a food processor to chop the nuts, this will make it effortless.
  • Confectioner sugar for dusting: Use vanilla powdered sugar if you have it.

How to Make Them

Step One:

Cream the butter in your electric mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl.

Butter in a mixing bowl.Pin
Cream the butter.

Step Two:

Add the sugar and then cream until it is light and fluffy.

Sugar added to the creamed butter.Pin
Add the sugar and cream it until light and fluffy.

Step Three:

Blend in the flour gradually. Scrape the bowl and ensure all the flour is incorporated.

Flour added to the wet ingredients.Pin
Add the flour in batches, mixing well in between additions.

Step Four:

Blend in the flour gradually. Scrape the bowl and ensure all the nuts are incorporated.

Nuts added to the dough.Pin
Add the nuts gradually. Mix well in between additions.

Step Five:

Wrap the dough in waxed paper and refrigerate overnight.

Dough wrapped in waxed paper.Pin
Wrap the dough in waxed paper. Refrigerate overnight.

How to Roll the Crescents

Step Six:

We like to weigh the dough so that all of the cookies are a uniform size. Ours weighed 13 grams which was perfect.

Chunks of dough being weighed on a scale.Pin
Weigh the dough so that all of the cookies are a uniform size.

Form the dough into balls. Roll the balls against your work surface with your fingertips to form a rope. Then, shape the dough into a crescent shape.

Dough rolled into balls and then ropes.Pin
Roll the weighed dough into balls. Then, roll the balls into ropes.

Place the crescents about 3/4 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Crescent-shaped dough on a cookie sheet.Pin
Then, shape the ropes into crescents. Place them ½-inch apart on the cookie sheet.

Bake 12-15 minutes until lightly golden.

Let them cool slightly.

Baked crescent-shaped cookies on a cookie sheet.Pin
Bake 12-15 minutes until light golden.

Spread the powdered sugar on a plate.

Remove the cookies from the baking sheet. Roll them in the powdered sugar while they are still warm.

Powdered sugar on a plate with a cookie being rolled in it.Pin
Roll the cookies in powdered sugar.

Place a sheet of waxed paper on the counter. Add a cooling rack on top of the paper (this makes for easy cleanup.) Place the powdered sugar-rolled cookies onto the cooling rack to cool completely.

Vanilla crescent cookies dusted with powdered sugar next to Christmas decorations.Pin

Making your own vanilla sugar

We have a detailed article that will walk you through all of the steps to make vanilla sugar at home. In a compressed version, you add vanilla seeds scraped from a vanilla bean pod to either granulated or confectioner sugar and let the sugar sit for three weeks to a month.

How to store them

To Store: Package the cookies in airtight containers. Use rolled-up waxed paper to fill any open spaces in the container and a sheet between the layers of cookies. You can refrigerate for about a week.

To Freeze: For longer storage, freeze them for about a month. They are good long after that, but the powdered sugar will soak into the cookie, and it won’t look as pretty.

Pro Tips

  • Make sure that the dough is cold. It must chill for at least 3 hours, but it’s much easier to work with if the dough chills overnight.
  • Having said that, you roll the dough to warm up the butter a bit so that the dough doesn’t crumble. So why do you have to start with cold dough? The butter needs to congeal after making the dough, or the dough will be too sticky, and you won’t be able to roll it.
  • Since this dough only has four ingredients, it is imperative that ingredients are measured perfectly since there is less room for error. Be sure to sift and level off the flour in the measuring cup.
  • In the same vein of thought, since there are only four ingredients, use the best quality ingredients that you can afford. Good quality butter is the most important thing.
  • Be sure that your oven temperature is accurate. If your oven is running too hot, the cookies could burn.
  • Let the vanilla crescent cookies get a nice golden brown before removing them from the oven.
  • Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes. They should be hard enough to pick them up but warm enough for the powdered sugar to stick to them.
  • Although you can buy packets of vanilla sugar, they are expensive and difficult to find. Making your own can save you lots of money, and the flavor is far superior.
Vanilla crescent cookies on a black plate dusted with confectioner sugar.Pin
Vanilla Crescents

FAQs

Can these vanilla crescent cookies be made gluten-free?

Yes. This recipe can easily become allergy-friendly by replacing that all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour mixture that contains xantham gum.

Can I make them if I don’t have an electric mixer?

Yes, for sure. You can make this by hand if you don’t have an electric mixer. Use a baking spatula to cream the butter and sugar together. Then, add the flour and nuts gradually. There will come a point when you will notice the spatula just isn’t working anymore. At this point, ditch the spatula and hand mix the remaining flour and nuts.

Can I add egg to the dough to make it easier to roll?

The answer is yes and no. You can add an egg to the dough, but it will barely resemble the same cookie. You sacrifice that crispy melt-in-your-mouth texture if you add eggs to the dough.

Helpful tools

More delicious Christmas cookies

These delicious Austrian vanilla crescent cookies will become one of your new favorite cookies to make for Christmas. They are exceedingly delicious and easy to make, too!

Viennese crescents on a black plate with Christmas decorations.Pin
Viennese Crescents

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Large plate of Viennese Crescents sprinkled with powdered sugar.Pin

Vanilla kipferl | Viennese Crescents

Vanillekipferl, the delicate, crescent-shaped cookies dusted with a light sprinkle of powdered sugar, are a classic treat deeply rooted in the heart of European baking traditions.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: European
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Baking time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 30 cookies
Calories: 69kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $4

Ingredients

Instructions

For the Dough

  • Cream the butter in your electric mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  • Add the sugar and then cream until it is light and fluffy.
  • Blend in the flour gradually. Scrape the bowl and ensure all the flour is incorporated.
  • Blend in the nuts gradually. Scrape the bowl and ensure all the nuts are incorporated.
  • Blend in the flour gradually. Scrape the bowl and ensure all the flour is incorporated.

How to Roll the Dough

  • We like to weigh the dough so that all of the cookies are a uniform size. Ours weighed 13 grams which was perfect.
  • Form the dough into balls. Roll the balls against your work surface with your fingertips to form a rope. Then, shape the dough into a crescent shape.
  • Place the crescents about 3/4 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes until lightly golden.
    Let them cool slightly.
  • Spread the powdered sugar on a plate.
    Remove the cookies from the baking sheet. Roll them in the powdered sugar while they are still warm.
  • Place a sheet of waxed paper on the counter. Add a cooling rack on top of the paper (this makes for easy cleanup.) Place the powdered sugar-rolled cookies onto the cooling rack to cool completely
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Notes

Use vanilla sugar and powdered vanilla in this recipe for better flavor. Eliminate the pure vanilla extract in the ingredients above if you do.
To Store: Package the cookies in airtight containers. Use rolled-up waxed paper to fill any open spaces in the container and a sheet between the layers of cookies. You can refrigerate for about a week.
 
To Freeze: For longer storage, freeze them for about a month. They are good long after that, but the powdered sugar will soak into the cookie, and it won’t look as pretty.

Nutrition

Calories: 69kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 15mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.3mg
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