The Vanillekipferl biscuits are magical in a way that they are shaped like half moons. They are traditionally served during the Christmas season, but they are now being served for any occasion. They are easy to make and they are ideal to be eaten as a mid-afternoon snack or for dieters, as light after-supper dessert.
Basically, this cookie is made using the common ingredients used for any kind of sugar cookie. Even the preparation is similar, except of course for the shaping or molding of the cookie. Regular sugar cookies are round in shape while these Austrian cookies are crescent-shaped. Preparation is finished off with dusting of lots of vanilla icing sugar.
Vanillekipferl are biscuits that are called by many other names, which include Wiener vanille kipferl, Viennese crescent cookies and vanille kipferl. Because of the crescent shape, these biscuit are said to be the forerunners of the croissant.
Country of Origin and Usage
The Vanillekipferl was originally developed in Austria, in the city of Vienna, and this is the specialty cookie of the Bavarian town, the Nördlingen. These biscuits were traditionally served for Christmas in Europe, but today, they can be enjoyed any time of the year. If you are ever in Vienna, you will see these biscuits often available in the coffee shops. These biscuits are also widely baked and enjoyed in Germany and other parts of Europe like the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary.
The Vanillekipferl is considered as a very special cookie because unlike other baked goodies, they are kind of difficult to bake. The batter becomes quite fragile once hardened, which is why it really takes a professional baker with skilled hands to create this special Christmas biscuit. It takes a lot of practice to actually be able to shape the dough without breaking the biscuit.
According to one legend, the origin of this biscuit was all about celebrating the triumphant days of the glorious Austro-Hungarian Empire. Legend has it that the army of the empire had triumphantly defeated the Turks in September of 1683 in Vienna. To celebrate that day, the bakers in the city created sugary cookies shaped as crescents characterizing the Turkish Flag. They called these cookies, Kipferl. The legend of the crescent shape cookies was concurrent with the legend of the beginning of the Viennese coffeehouses. Another legend has it that when the defeated Turkish army fled the city, they had to leave a coffee bean sack.
In Paris, the French Vanillekipferl invasion started around 1839 when an Austrian army officer named August Zang moved to France and established his own bakery he called the Parisian Rue de Richelieu. The French version is flakier.
Ingredients and Preparation
Basically, the ingredients for the vanillekipferl are similar to those used for sugar cookies. They include sugar, flour, vanilla, butter and eggs plus a leavening agent. Ground nuts are also used for flavoring – the most commonly used nuts for these biscuits are hazelnuts and almonds. For the sweetness, powdered sugar is dusted on the cookies, while other people dip the cookies into melted chocolate. The crescent shape gives these cookies their distinctive characteristic.
Biggest Producers of Vanillekipferl Worldwide
Wirklein Vanillekipferl Biscuits is a popular brand of these cookies. These are small, crescent shaped goodies baked with fine Bourbon vanilla and then finished off with powdered sugar that are heavily dusting on top. The Keksies is a brand that also distributes the Vanillekipferl Cookies along with other Weihnachtsgebäck (German Christmas pastries). This brand makes and delivers its goodies in New York. The Ritter Sport Winter Kreation also produces and distributes Vanillekipferl Cookies.
Interesting Facts about Vanillekipferl
Originally, the Kipferl biscuits are said to have originated in Vienna, in Austria. However, these delicious crescent-shaped goodies have been baked and enjoyed throughout Germany during Christmastime for a very long time that they are mistaken as German cookies. In Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria, the VanilleKipferl biscuits are considered specialty together with their equally popular mulled wine.
VanilleKipferl biscuits are great as little edible gifts that people bring when they visit their families and friends for the Christmas celebrations. The powdered sugar dusted variety is still the preferred version compared to the chocolate dipped variant.
The Germans may not have been the first to bake these goodies, but they were certainly the ones that have made it very popular. As a matter of fact, the Germans who migrated to other countries have taken with them the tradition of making these cookies for their Christmas celebrations. They also shared their traditional recipes to their adoptive nations, making the VanilleKipferl a biscuit that can be enjoyed the world over and at any time of the year.
Enjoying these cookies is easy as anyone with minimal baking and cooking skills can easily prepare and bake them. Recipes can be accessed online and they are written in German, English and other major languages. The Austrian version is still considered as the original version because they are the naturally melt-in-the-mouth cookies.
The VanilleKipferl Cookies are also called as the Vanilla Almond Half Moon Biscuits because of their unique shape. They are usually served with other cookies shaped like stars to complete the setting. In Austria and Germany, a Christmas season is never complete without the VanilleKipferl Cookies. Austrians and Germans continue the tradition no matter where they are.