German Vanillekipferl Recipe – Vegan

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Vegan German Vanillekipferl Recipe – learn how to make the best German Vanilla Crescent Cookies with ground almonds! A vegan spin on a traditional German Christmas cookie recipe. Delicately crumbly with a melt-in-your-mouth texture these are perfect for the holidays. 

vegan German Vanillekipferl cookies on a blue cookie plate

Learn how to make the best vegan Vanillekipferl

Delicately crumbly with a melt-in-your-mouth texture, these Vanillekipferl cookies will thoroughly win you over! This holiday season let’s make German Vanilla Crescent Cookies.

This is a modern vegan spin on the traditional German Christmas Cookie recipe. The crescent cookies are made using Earth Balance/ vegan butter, ground almonds and are dusted with vanilla sugar and icing sugar! They are buttery, tender, nutty and so addictive! A perfect cookie to make for the holidays that’s always a hit.

vegan vanillekipferl cookies dusted with icing sugar

Growing up in Germany, I made these every year at Christmas with my granny along with several other traditional German Christmas cookies.  While there are many types of German Christmas cookies, these are unnegotiable. Christmas without Vanillekipferl is just not possible.

freshly baked vegan vanillekipferl being dusted with icing sugar

German vanillekipferl cookies owe their melt-in-your-mouth texture to the high butter content and the absence of egg. As these are vegan, we don’t use butter but Earth balance or margarine. Think of them as a tender, crumbly shortbread cookie made with ground nuts and coated with a generous dusting of vanilla sugar. So good.

While most people think of them as a German Christmas cookies, Vanillekipferl originated not in Germany, but in Vienna, Austria around 400 years ago when. According to some sources they were created as a celebration of a victory over the Turks making them the shape of the crescent moon (“kipferl”) found on the Turkish banner. Over the years Austrians came up with more and more crescent-shaped pastries, the most famous of which eventually made its way to France:  The croissant.  But that’s another story for another post.

For this recipe, we are using ground almonds but walnuts or hazelnuts can also be used. In some parts of Austria, these are even made with ground pepitas. Ground blanched almonds will result in a light-colored cookie whereas unblanched almonds or walnuts and hazelnuts will result in a darker, speckled cookie. 

Ingredients for Vanillekipferl: 

  • flour mixed with cornstarch for the perfect tender texture
  • ground almonds: grind your own almonds using a food processor or use packaged almond meal (not almond flour).
  • vanilla sugar – store-bought or homemade (see below)
  • vegan butter 
  • salt 
  • icing sugar for dusting

What is Vanilla Sugar? 

Vanilla sugar is a common ingredient in many European baking recipes, and can be found in little packets in the stores. In Canada, you find it in the baking aisle.  However, in the States, it isn’t common to find those little sachets of Dr Oetker vanilla sugar. As it is basically just sugar flavored with vanilla, it is easy to make yourself.

homemade german vanilla sugar in a jar

How to make German Vanilla Sugar ( Vanillezucker) 

Using vanilla pod

You can make vanilla sugar simply by mixing 1 cup of sugar with the seeds of 1 vanilla pod. Also, add the scraped-out pod to the sugar and store in a dark cool and dry place.

Using vanilla extract

However, if you don’t have a vanilla pod laying around, you can also make vanilla sugar using pure vanilla extract.

To make your own vanilla sugar using vanilla extract, place ½ tsp pure vanilla extract and ¼ c sugar in your food processor. Pulse the two together until the sugar is evenly colored. The sugar will be moist, so spread it on a plate to dry.

As the sugar dries, it will clump up slightly. So, once dry it needs to be returned to the food processor and pulsed a few more times until you have a fine, vanilla-scented sugar. Store the vanilla sugar in an airtight container in a cool and dry place.  

 

vegan vanillekipferl on a cookie platter dusted with vanilla sugar

Shaping Vanilla Crescent Cookies: 

There is a very quick method to shape the perfect vanillekipferl. 

Here are the secrets for perfectly shaped vanilla crescents – in no time at all.

Roll the chilled vanilla cookie dough between your hands into rolls with a thickness of a coin – about almost 2-3 cm thick. Then cut these into slices (approx. 11 to 12 g each in weight). 

Now roll the ends briefly, bend them and place them on the baking sheet. Then put it in the oven and look forward to the delicious crescent cookies

Austrian Vanilla crescent cookies on a cake stand

My Vanilla crescent cookies melt in the oven

The vanillekipferl will hold their shape if you stick to the following rules:

  • Make them small. Do not make the croissants too big or too fat.
  • use a cold baking sheet in a hot oven: place the shaped crescent cookies on a cold baking sheet – never on a warm baking sheet
  • It is best to cool the tray with the shaped vanilla crescents once again before baking. In winter simply on the balcony or terrace.
  • The oven must be fully preheated when the cooled tray is put into the oven.
  • Bake hot and short. 180 C for 9 to 12 minutes

Storing crescent cookies

German Christmas cookies are often set to rest in biscuit tins for a few days or even weeks. After 2 to 3 days, they will become even more crumbly and taste even better. Stored in an airtight container in a cool place, these cookies will keep for several weeks.

Tips for the best vanillekipferl

  • The dough will be fairly dry and flaky but do not add more liquid.
  • Do not knead the dough too long so that it stays tender. The dough should not get too warm otherwise the cookies will be tough
  • You can knead using your hands or the dough hook of a hand mixer or stand mixer
  • Shape the dough into rolls and refrigerate for at least 1 – 2 hours before shaping.
  • The cookie dough can also be left in the refrigerator overnight. This is a great way to prepare the crescent cookies
  • The cookie dough should stay as cold as possible because the colder the dough, the better the vanillekipferl will hold their shape during baking.
  • The baking tray should also be as cold as possible, so ideally cool the tray beforehand – in the freezer or on the terrace.
  • Bake the cookies with sufficient space between them and bake each tray individually 

More German Christmas recipes

★ Did you make and love this traditional German Vanillekipferl recipe? Give it your review below! And make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram!

German Vanillekipferl Recipe - Vanilla Crescent Cookies

Vegan German Vanillekipferl Recipe - learn how to make the best German Vanilla Crescent Cookies with ground almonds! A vegan spin on a traditional German Christmas cookie recipe. Delicately crumbly with a melt-in-your-mouth texture these are perfect for the holidays. 

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Austrian, germany
Keyword vanilla crescent cookies, vanillekipferl recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Resting 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 43 minutes
Servings 20
Calories 75 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour 125 g
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ½ tbsp cornstarch
  • 2/3 cups ground almonds 75 g
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar 50 g
  • 2 sachets of bourbon vanilla sugar - 2 tbsps - store bought or homemade see notes
  • 1/2 cup 1 stick vegan butter or margarine room temperature

For dusting:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar / 100 g
  • 2 sachets of vanilla sugar 2 tbsp

Instructions

  1. Mix the flour, salt, cornstarch, ground almonds, icing sugar and vanilla sugar in a mixing bowl. Add softened vegan butter in small pieces and quickly knead everything into a smooth dough with the dough hook of a hand mixer or with your hands. When you make them for the first time you might think this recipe won’t work because when you combine all the ingredients and start mixing the mixture will look very dry and crumbly. Don’t worry, the mixture will come together after about a minute or so.
  2. Roll the dough into a 3 cm thick roll and cut in half. Then wrap the rolls tightly in cling film and place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Chill the tray.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375F / 180 ° C (160 ° C convection) and line a tray with baking paper.
  4. Take the dough rolls out of the refrigerator and cut into 1 cm slices with a sharp knife. Roll each slice into a small roll, making the ends a little thinner. Bend both ends towards each other so that a half-moon shape is created.
  5. Place the shaped cookies on the prepared, cooled tray with ½ inch apart. Repeat with the remaining dough, removing the dough from the refrigerator only when needed until you have filled one tray.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for approx. 12 minutes until the ends are slightly brown. Don't overbake them. Keep an eye on the cookies. They should stay light in color. Take out the tray when they are just starting to brown very lightly.
  7. Mix powdered sugar and vanilla sugar.
  8. Sieve the powdered sugar and vanilla sugar mixture onto the finished, still hot vanilla crescents. That's right: Sieve the mixture over the hot cookies directly on the baking sheet. It's quick and the delicate cookies can't break that way.
  9. Then let the cool completely on the baking sheet.

Recipe Notes

Make your own vanilla sugar
Mix 1 cup of sugar with the seeds of 1 vanilla pod.

OR

Place ½ tsp pure vanilla extract and ¼ c sugar in your food processor. Pulse until the sugar is evenly colored. Spread the sugar on a plate to dry. It will clump slightly as it dries. Once dry, return the sugar to the food processor and pulse until fine. Store in an airtight container in a cool and dry place.

(1 package of vanilla sugar = 1 tbsp of vanilla sugar)

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