14 December 2015

Kipferl for Christmas

It's almost Christmas and I have been so busy that I haven't done much cookie baking ! Until today ...

Every Christmas, I have a bit of nostalgia about SB's and my time in Germany. Walking around the small village Christmas markets started just as Advent began and extended up to the week before the big day. Looking at all the handicrafts, needlework, candies and marzipans, stollen stands, beeswax candles, jewelry, and woodwork items was always great fun. Stopping at the gluwein stands to pick up a warm glass and a sample of cookies became a tradition and I have the collection of small mugs to prove it!

One of the buys I made at the Heppenheim Weinhachtsmarkt was a recipe book that contains many of the traditional Christmas baked goods. It was there I found this recipe for Kipferl - little crescent shaped cookies made with ground nuts, butter, flour, and just a bit of sugar. The basic recipe is then embellished with all manner of flavours - lemon zest and lemon -scented sugar, shaved chocolate, vanilla-scented sugar are a few variations.  They can be covered with powdered sugar, drizzles of white or dark chocolate, icing that's been sprinkled with bits of nuts or colored sugar. I was always drawn to them when they were laid out in powdered sugar perfection on trays at the bakeries. Scooped into paper-lined boxes with tiny spatulas, they would be perfectly placed by the attendants and presented with a pretty ribbon bow around the box. It's all about the presentation in those lovely German Backerei ! Leave it to the Germans to take a basic butter cookie recipe and lift it to an art form!

I love these cookies because they are not overly sweet. They're crisp and have two bites to them. They're perfect for dipping in cocoa, coffee, tea or gluwein. Their snowy-looking appearance makes me happy.  Oh, and their tips are perfect dipped in a chocolate fondue too! Just sayin'.

Today's version of Kipferl has ground hazelnuts and vanilla-scented sugar in the dough and in the powdered sugar coating. The recipe made close to 100 cookies. That makes them perfect for gifting on Christmas cookie plates with a variety of other cookies. Mine will go on a plate with chocolate macaroon sandwich cookies and traditional Speculaas. Mmmmm! Christmas baking ! I love it!

Here's the recipe ...

... SB's telltale mark ... 



100 g ground almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts, toasted in a hot fry pan until aromatic
250 g all purpose flour
150 g. unsalted butter
2 large egg yolks
1 packet vanilla-scented sugar (or 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
100 g. sugar

Powdered sugar for dusting the cooled cookies

Making the Cookies:

1. Toast the nuts and then slide them from the pan onto a cool plate and set aside to cool.
2. Place the flour in a food processor bowl and whiz with chunks of the cold butter until the mixture begins to hold together.
3. Place the egg yolks and vanilla sugar in a deep mixing bowl and whisk together. Turn in the sugar, flour and butter mixture and ground nuts along with the pinch of salt. Mash together to make a thick dough ball. 
4. Use a knife to divide the dough into four equal sections.
5. Place a large sheet of plastic wrap out on a cool rolling surface. Working with one section at a time, use you hands to roll the dough in logs that are about an inch in diameter and about a foot long.
6. Wrap them in plastic wrap and chill them until cold and firm.
7. Working with one dough log at a time, cut the log into 12 equal sections. Each should be about the size of walnut. Divide each 'walnut in half and use your hands to roll each half into a small snake about 3 or 4 inches long. Crimp the ends to a point and curl the kipferl into a half moon shape on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
8. Chill the cookies while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Back chilled cookie pans for 12-14 minutes or until the pointed tips are golden. Cool on the cookie sheets and then set the cookies very close together and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
9. Place in tins with tightly fitting tops. Separate the layers with waxed paper for perfect loking cookies ... or just sprinkle a bit more confectioner's sugar on the cookies when you serve them on a platter.


  1. haha I haven't done *any" cookie baking at all yet.. plenty of eating though ;) This looks great Susan!

  2. I love these, they're so cute little horseshoe shaped cookies! Merry Christmas x

  3. Traditional cookies are the best --- I love that you dip these in wine!!


Anonymous comments will not be accepted. Please be aware that due to spamming concerns, I must be able to track back. Use your Google account ID to comment.