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Vanillekipferl, an Austrian Christmas cookie.

I just look up Vanillekipferl and if there is an English word. Apparently not, but the English Wikipedia knows what it is. Vanillekipferl are staples for Christmas, I don’t even think we have it any other time (most of our Christmas cookies are really just for Advent time and Christmas). Those little fellas were usually made by my grandmother on my father’s side because she comes from Austria and this is essentially an Austrian delicacy. They are simply to make, but somewhat time consuming.

As I said, my grandmother used to make them, but mostly when we were not home. She had the kitchen to herself, no loud children and could just work away. I think I saw her once or maybe twice making them but I wasn’t old enough to really take an interest. Other cookies were more fun to make. This time was the first time I made them, fortunately my mother has the recipe which she passed on to me.


– 250g flour
– pinch of baking powder
– 125g sugar
– 30g vanilla sugar or 2 tsp. vanilla
– 3 egg yolk
– 200g margarine
– 125g ground almond

Like most Christmas baking in Germany you have to knead the dough until it is one smooth ball. Take some of the dough, form a ball and roll it into a tube with the end being somewhat smaller. Bend it into a horse shoe shape and place it on a cookie sheeted lined with baking paper.

This is the shape you are looking for.

Bake at 180°C for about 10 min until the ends are slightly brown. Let them cool a little and then either use regular sugar or icing sugar to coat them. You can add some vanilla sugar to the coating as well. Be careful with these cookies, they tend to break easily, which is ok because they are still good but not so pretty if you want to give it away.

Interesting: Kipferl describes the shape of this cookie and other baked goods. The croissant is also a Kipferl although it is made from a different dough.

I have a baking sheet that has the form of Kipferl, removing them is difficult though.

Tip 1 : If you are doing Christmas baking, especially German, then you might want to make your own vanilla sugar. You need to buy real vanilla beans, cut them in half and stick them in a container of sugar. Let this sit for a week, better two and you have your own vanilla sugar. Or you just buy the vanilla sugar from Dr. Oetker.

The Vanillekipferl from the sheet are uniform in size, but a little darker than a hand formed one.

Tip 2: German Christmas baking often involves ground almonds or hazelnuts. I recommend you buy a bigger package of regular nuts and use your food processor to grind them. It might not turn out as fine as the store bought one but at least you can do the precise grams (or cups if you prefer). The store bought ground almond are 100g per package…you need 125g for this recipe. I think you see where I am going.

Happy baking!


About andreamacleod

Take a KitchenAid Artisan machine, a young wife, time, creativity and mix it well. You end up with endless options of baking goodies from German torte to North American cupcakes. Follow me on my baking and cooking adventures and throw in your cent or two. There are no limits!

3 responses »

  1. Love vanille-kipferl – my entire family in Germany loves them. The house smells so yummy when my mom used to bake them with my sister and me. To be honest, making the kipferl-shape was always so difficult!
    My mom’s kipferl looked by far the best and she made nice shapes patiently till the end, whereas my sister and I – we just used to change the shape and made ‘little breads and rolls’ that we sold in our Kaufmannsladen…
    Yesterday, finally, I made them here in NZ and changed the recipe a little bit. Since it’s quite warm here, you sometimes don’t feel like having the heavy christmas cookies, so I bake lots of cookies with fruit (made apple-cookies last week – yum!!). The vanillekipferl yesterday were made with joghurt, which I can highly recommend. It’s yum! To be honest, altough I’m a grown up now – Im still impatient with shaping kipferl and the last ones were quite big, just so that I could finish soon….At least I don’t make litte breads and rolls anymore… 😉

    • You made them with yoghurt? So you substitute the butter I assume. How does the recipe look like for that one? I am not sure how it would work. It would be nice if you could send it over to me.

  2. sure, here we go: but there is still some butter in that recipe (I think the butter and the sugar make the cookies so wonderful, these two ingredients are sooo essential!!)

    100g ground almonds
    500g flour
    250g custar sugar
    150g butter
    150g joghurt (vanilla flavour, or pure, but then i add lots and lots of real vanilla from a fresh vanilla bean)


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