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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Vanilla Kipferl

I fell in love with these cookies while spending Christmas in Austria as a missionary. The dough was awkward for me to work with at first, but the result is absolutely worth it!

Also known as Vanillekipferl or Vanilla Crescents.

1 vanilla bean
2/3 cup blanched almonds
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 large pinch of salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, cut into slivers
2 egg yolks
vanilla sugar (see below) or powdered sugar

Cut open the vanilla bean and scrape out the pith. Grind the amonds very fine. With a large knife, blend together the almonds with the flour sugar, salt, vanilla pith, and butter, using a chopping motion, on a work board. Add the egg yolk and knead to form a dough. Chill, wrapped in plastic. Shape the dough into a roll and cut into 50 equal pieces. Preheat the oven to 375F. Form the pieces into small rolls with pointy tapering ends; bend these into crescents and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake in the center of the oven until light brown, about 12 minutes. Dredge the crescents while still warm in vanilla sugar or powdered sugar. Reapply sugar after they cool (sift over the top inside their storage container).

To make vanilla sugar: Keep caster sugar and a vanilla bean in an air tight jar, after a few weeks the sugar will taste of vanilla.

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