Vanillekipferl (or vanilla crescent cookies) are popular German Christmas cookies that are ALWAYS a firm favorite for the holidays.
Growing up, Christmas would not be Christmas without homemade vanillekipferl, zimtsterne, nussecken, and Linzer plätzchen. My mom, who is from Germany, would go into a cookie-baking frenzy each year and we all LOVED it - friends and neighbors included.
So naturally I needed to recreate these melt-in-your-mouth delicate buttery cookies.
Making vanillekipferl vegan and still as flavorsome as I remember them was a little tricky. But after testing them with added egg replacers, I returned to a pretty simple version, just like my Mom used to bake them!
📖 Recipe Overview
- Minimal Ingredients - With only 8 ingredients in total, most of them pantry staples.
- Made With Real Vanilla Bean - The quality of ingredients is even more important when using fewer ingredients, that's why real vanilla is key here.
- Perfect For Gifting - They make an amazing addition to a Christmas cookie box. Or as part of a gift hamper for family, friends, and neighbors - you could even throw in a little bottle of dairy-free Baileys, mince pies, and some chocolate truffles if you're feeling extra generous!
🧾 Ingredients Needed
As promised, you only need a few ingredients to make these delicious vegan vanillekipferl cookies. Here's what to grab:
- Blanched Almonds - These make all the difference in the texture of your cookies. If you're stuck, you can use ground almonds but I recommend blanching raw almonds yourself as a first option, it only takes 5 minutes!
- Vegan Butter - Make sure you use block-style butter, and it needs to be cold. Margarine will not work, as the water content is too high.
- Vanilla Pod - You can of course go for storebought vanilla sugar in a pinch (my Mom used little packets of "vanillin zucker"). But real vanilla takes the flavor to another level so I *highly* recommend it.
- Powdered Sugar - Also labeled as icing sugar or confectioners sugar. This is dusted on top of the cookies after baking for added sweetness and to give them that festive appearance.
- Vanilla Extract - A double dose of vanilla gives these biscuits an intense vanilla flavor. You can skip this if you don't have any to hand and use a drop of non-dairy milk if needed to bring the dough together.
🥣 How To Make Vanillekipferl Vegan
After making the vanilla sugar by blending a vanilla pod with sugar and sifting, there are just a few simple steps to these homemade cookies. Here is a visual demonstration of how they are made:
Step 1: Blitz the homemade vanilla sugar mixture, blanched almonds, flour, and salt in a food processor until finely ground.
Step 2: Add the cold cubed butter to the food processor and blitz again just for a few seconds. Then blend in the vanilla extract for a few seconds and stop mixing.
Step 3: Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and knead it into a ball.
Step 4: Roll the dough into a log - around 15 inches in length and tightly wrap it in parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
Step 5: Slice the log into 44 pieces (each weighing 15g). Then roll each piece into a ball, roll it into a log, and then curl in the ends so that it forms a crescent shape. Place the cookies back on a tray lined with parchment paper and chill for another 30 minutes.
Step 6: Bake the vanilla crescents for 8 minutes. Let them sit on the baking trays for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Carefully slide the sheet of parchment paper with the cookies off of the tray and onto a cooling rack to cool to room temperature.
Step 7: Once cool, generously dust the cookies with a powdered sugar coating.
- Swap the nuts - If you can't eat almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts are another option. I haven't personally tried these yet, but I reckon they would be delicious!
Store them in an airtight container, each layer separated with a sheet of parchment paper and keep at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
Yes, these almond crescent cookies freeze beautifully. I don't recommend freezing them any longer than a couple of months though for best results. To defrost, let them sit out at room temperature for a couple of hours before serving.
Small Batch - while this recipe makes over 40 cookies, you can easily half the ingredients to make less.
Although I do recommend making a full batch of vanilla sugar as any less it may be difficult for your blender to grab all of the ingredients. You can use any extra vanilla sugar to flavor desserts or to sprinkle on top of porridge, pancakes, waffles, or to sweeten your tea and coffee - YUM!
🎄 More Christmas Cookies
- Make vanilla sugar: Slice the vanilla bean lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the scraped-out pod to a food processor along with the granulated sugar.Blitz for around 5 minutes until most of the vanilla has been ground down.
- Pass the vanilla sugar through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any larger pieces of vanilla (*see note 3).
- Make the dough: Add the vanilla sugar back to the food processor along with the blanched almonds, flour, and salt. Blitz for a couple of minutes until the ingredients are finely ground.
- Add the cold cubed butter to the food processor and blitz again, this time just for 10 seconds or so. Then blend in the vanilla extract for a few seconds and stop mixing. Don't be tempted to overwork the dough.
- Roll and chill: Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and knead it into a ball. Get a large sheet of parchment or plastic wrap, and roll the dough into a log - around 15 inches in length. Tightly wrap the log and place it in the fridge to chill for at least an hour.
- Shape and chill: Slice the log into 44 pieces (each weighing 15g). Then roll each piece into a ball, roll it into a log, and then curl in the ends so that it forms a crescent shape. Place the cookies back on a tray lined with parchment paper and chill for another 30 minutes.
- Bake: Preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F fan (200°C/392°F conventional). Place the cookies on parchment-lined cookie trays, a centimeter apart from each other, and bake for 8 minutes.
- Let the cookies sit on the baking trays for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Carefully slide the sheet of parchment paper with the cookies off of the tray and onto a cooling rack to cool to room temperature.
- Garnish: Once cool, dust the cookies generously with powdered sugar.
- Storage: Store in an airtight container, each layer separated with a sheet of parchment paper and keep at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
- Vegan Butter - Use block-style buttery sticks such as Violife block or flora plant butter, not spreadable margarine from a tub.
- Blanched Almonds - In a pinch, you can use ground almonds, just note the end result may not be as moist.
- Vanilla Sugar - You can reserve any leftover pieces of vanilla pod and add them to a jar of sugar to flavor it for future use.
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