Vanillekipferl are German vanilla bean cookies and by far the BEST German Christmas cookie! They are fast and easy to make, so buttery & perfectly sweet!
What are Vanillekipferl?
Vanillekipferl, pronounced Va-nil-luh-kipp-fuh-l, are vanilla bean crescent-moon-shaped cookies. Kipferl is a word that's commonly used in Austrian German for baked goods shaped like croissants, and means 'little horn.' I loved helping my Oma Sieghilde hand-shape these at her small kitchen table, which is how they're traditionally shaped.
My Oma always took special care to make sure the ends weren't too skinny, or else they would burn easily. That being said, she didn't want anything or anyone to be too skinny. 😉 After baking, the Vanillekipferl get a thick dusting of powdered sugar. Oma Sieghilde used to roll the cookies in the powdered sugar on a plate, but I think the dusting looks prettier, so that's what I do. Sorry, Oma. You don't need many ingredients to make Vanillekipferl and no special tools or skills are required.
The ingredient list for these favorite German vanilla bean cookies is thankfully short, which is why it's essential to use the best ingredients!
- Vanilla Bean: The real stuff! Vanilla beans are expensive! I buy mine in bulk for the baking season. I then reuse the scraped vanilla bean pods to make homemade vanilla simple syrup and vanilla sugar (the ladder simply by covering the pods in a small canister with cane sugar). Vanilla sugar is great to use in any baking recipe or for sprinkling on top of pancakes, muffins, and more. You can also make homemade vanilla extract with these!
- Almond Flour (or Hazelnut Flour): Nut flour can be made at home by grinding nuts yourself. I use my food processor to make my hazelnut flour from whole, shelled nuts, as hazelnut flour is harder to find in the US. For the more traditional version with almond flour (this is how we always ate them growing up), I like grinding blanched and peeled almonds for the color. Almonds with peel will work as well, but your cookies will be darker.
- Butter: Using good quality butter in this recipe will pay off! I like using salted butter in this recipe as I like the hint of salt in the cookies.
- Flour: Just regular, all-purpose flour will work great in this recipe. I use organic flour that I buy in bulk for all my holiday baking!
- Sugar: I use organic cane sugar.
- Powdered Sugar: Yes, more sugar! 🙂 This is what the Vanillekipferl are rolled or dusted in after baking.
No special tools are required, but having a nice parchment paper that performs well is essential for baking cookies. This Germany-made parchment paper by the Frieling brand.
They come in different sizes and shapes and I love the precut sheets for convenience when baking. The precut round sheets come in handy when storing cookies in round cookie tins. I love that this parchment paper is unbleached and eco-friendly, and each sheet can be used twice thanks to a non-toxic silicone coating.
Why Vanillekipferl are the best German Christmas Cookie
The advent season and the need to be baking German Christmas cookies have officially arrived! It's hard to pick favorites, so feel free to choose your own from my Top 5 German Christmas Cookies. After much thought, I can say that these German vanilla cookies are at the top of the list for me!
Vanillekipferl offer a super tasty outcome for the amount of time spent. The combination of the soft, crumbly texture with the warming vanilla bean taste is what makes this cookie so perfect. Make sure to try my Vanillekiperl recipe and comment below with your baking experience.
To help you understand how to make Vanillekipferl (it's really so easy), including how to shape them, please watch this 28-second video.
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Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Bean Cookies)
- 1 vanilla bean I buy mine in bulk because they are cheaper that way.
- 210 grams butter room temperature
- 100 grams almond flour which has the skins removed, you can also use ground almonds (with skins), which will make for a darker looking cookie.
- 70 grams sugar granulated
- 250 grams all-purpose flour
- powdered sugar for dusting the cookies after baking
- Cut a vanilla bean open lengthwise, then scrape out the seeds.1 vanilla bean
- Knead together with other ingredients to make a smooth dough.210 grams butter, 100 grams almond flour, 70 grams sugar, 250 grams all-purpose flour
- Half the dough and shape into 8-inch (20 cm) logs on a lightly floured surface. Cover in parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for one hour.
- Preheat oven to 390° Fahrenheit (200° Celsius).
- Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into 20 slices each (1 cm thick each).
- Shape the slices into pencil-thick rolls of about 2-inch length with tapered ends that run towards each other (like a crescent moon shape). If you need help, watch my video. Don't make the ends too skinny, or else they can easily burn.
- Lay on baking sheets covered with parchment paper and bake on the middle rack for 9 to 11 minutes or until just starting to brown at the ends.
- Once finished baking, remove from oven and let cool completely. Carefully roll (Oma's way) or dust (my preferred way because I think they look prettier) in powdered sugar.powdered sugar