Vegan vanillekipferl - these delicious Austrian/German Christmas cookies are easy to make, light, crisp and melt-in-the-mouth.
With a delicate vanilla almond flavour, crumbly texture and snowy dusting of powdered sugar these biscuits are perfect for Christmas!
These vegan vanillekipferl are a classic European Christmas cookie that really deserve a spot in your festive biscuit tin!
While they are slightly fiddly to shape, they aren't difficult to make, and the resulting biscuits are so delicious and more-ish that they are well worth the effort!
What Are Vanillekipferl?:
Vanillekipferl are a crescent shaped shortbread style biscuit, made with ground nuts and dusted with vanilla sugar.
They are originally from Austria but are very common in Germany too, as well as various other European countries, where they are traditionally baked at Christmas.
Either ground almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts may be used to make the dough, but I've opted for almonds as it is easy to buy them pre-ground. While some vanillekipferl recipes contain egg, traditionally they should be made without egg so they are naturally very easy to veganise!
What Do I Need to Make Vegan Vanillekipferl?:
Plain flour: Just regular plain (all-purpose) flour is best here. I haven't tried making these gluten-free.
Ground almonds: Essential for the right texture. I believe that in the US it would be called almond flour rather than ground almonds. Ground hazelnuts would also work.
Vegan block butter: Please, for the love of holy baking, use a block butter/margarine to make these cookies, not the spreadable kind in a tub.
Spreadable will likely make the dough too soft, and the biscuits may be more tough as it contains more water. I recommend Naturli Vegan Block or Flora Plant Butter.
Icing sugar: Using icing (powdered) sugar in the dough gives these cookies a light, melt-in-the-mouth texture. They also get rolled in icing sugar to give them that classic snowy appearance.
Vanilla extract: Use a good quality vanilla extract for the best flavour. If you have it then vanilla bean paste would be amazing instead.
Vanilla sugar: This is used to coat the vanillekipferl to add extra vanilla flavour. See below for instructions to make your own. It can be omitted if necessary.
How To Make Vanilla Sugar:
Vanillekipferl are dusted with a mixture of vanilla sugar and icing (powdered) sugar. Vanilla sugar is common in many European countries as a baking ingredient, but it is not really sold in the UK.
You can get it online, but it is also easy to make your own.
To make it, combine 300g of granulated sugar with the seeds of 1 vanilla bean in a blender or food processor and blitz until well combined and the sugar is finely ground, somewhere between the texture of caster sugar and icing sugar.
Store in a jar with the scraped out vanilla pod where it will keep for ages.
If you can't get hold of any and don't want to make it then the cookies can just be coated with icing (powdered) sugar, they will still be delicious!
How To Make Vegan Vanillekipferl:
(Full measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page)
Mix together the flour, ground almonds and sugar in a bowl.
Add the cold, cubed butter and vanilla extract and rub them in using your fingertips until well combined and no lumps of butter remain.
Bring the mixture together into a soft dough and knead gently just a couple of times until it is smooth. Wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours until the dough is firm.
Divide the dough into 20 pieces and roll them into balls.
Roll each ball into a log shape, tapering the ends slightly. Shape the log into a crescent.
Place the crescents spaced apart on a couple of baking sheets and pop them in the freezer while you preheat the oven.
Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, until golden around the edges but still pale on top.
Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then gently roll them in icing sugar while still warm.
As with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup conversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
Don't overwork the dough as that will make the cookies tough. Just knead it very briefly until it is smooth and then stop.
Make sure that your crescents are all the same size so that they bake evenly. I weigh out the portions of dough to make sure that they are exactly the same.
Chilling the cookies before baking them helps to ensure that they don't spread. I don't recommend skipping this step!
Don't overbake the vanillekipferl, they should be lightly golden around the edges and on the underside but still pale on top.
Once baked, allow the vanillekipferl to cool on the tray for about 5 minutes until the are cool enough to handle before coating them in sugar. They are very delicate when warm so handle them gently! Don't let them cool too much before coating them though or the sugar won't stick properly.
Storage And Make Ahead Instructions:
These vegan vanillekipferl will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of weeks.
The dough will keep in the fridge (well wrapped) for up to three days.
To make them further in advance, prepare the dough and shape the crescents as per the recipe then spread them out on a baking sheet and freeze until solid.
Transfer the frozen crescents to an airtight container or freezer bag and keep frozen for up to 3 months. The cookies can be baked right from the freezer, they just may need a minute or two longer in the oven.
The baked cookies can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Allow to defrost at room temperature to serve.
More Vegan Christmas Cookies:
- Vegan chocolate pistachio biscotti
- Vegan gingerbread biscotti
- Vegan biscotti with almonds and cranberries
- Vegan chocolate orange shortbread
- Vegan cranberry orange shortbread
- Vegan pecan snowball cookies
- Vegan nussecken
- Vegan linzer cookies
- Vegan shortbread fingers
- Vegan gingerbread cookies
If you tried this recipe let me know how it went! Rate it, leave a comment or tag @domestic_gothess on Instagram and hashtag it #domesticgothess
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Vegan Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescent Cookies)
- 125 g (1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 60 g (⅔ cup) ground almonds
- 45 g (6 Tablespoons) icing (powdered) sugar
- 100 g (⅓ cup + 4 teaspoons) vegan block butter (NOT the spreadable kind. I use Naturli Vegan Block) cold and diced
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla sugar (optional)
- 60 g (8 Tablespoons) icing (powdered) sugar
- Mix together the flour, ground almonds and icing sugar in a bowl.
- Add the cold, cubed butter and vanilla extract and rub them in using your fingertips until well combined and no lumps of butter remain.
- Bring the mixture together into a soft dough and knead gently just a couple of times until it is smooth. Wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours until the dough is firm.
- Divide the dough into 20 pieces, I use a scale for accuracy (about 16g each) and roll them into balls.
- Roll each ball into a small log shape, tapering the ends slightly. Shape the log into a crescent. Lightly flour the surface if necessary.
- Place the crescents spaced apart on a couple of baking parchment lined baking sheets and pop them in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4.
- Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, until golden around the edges and on the underside but still pale on top.
- Mix the icing sugar and vanilla sugar (if using) in a wide, shallow bowl.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then gently roll them in the icing sugar while they are still warm. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- See post above forr tips, details and step-by-step photos.
- As with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup conversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!