Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies)

Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies) are traditional German Christmas Cookies made with ground nuts and dusted with vanilla sugar! They are tender, nutty and melt in your mouth. A perfect cookie to make ahead that’s always a hit.

Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies) are traditional German Christmas Cookies made with ground nuts and dusted with vanilla sugar! They are tender, nutty and melt in your mouth.  A perfect cookie to make ahead that's always a hit.

Vanillekipferl are small, crescent-shaped cookies with a heavy dusting of vanilla sugar which gives them their typical flavor. The little croissant shaped cookies are a real classic German Christmas cookie and

Probably every German grandmother makes Vanillekipferl at Christmas time. But they can also be enjoyed all year round!You only need a few ingredients to make them and they keep fresh for weeks. Like German Gingerbread and Traditional German Stollen, they get even tastier after a few days in my opinion.

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One of my favorite Christmas memories is baking cookies with my Oma (that’s the German word for Grandmother). I always made sure there were enough cookie dough scraps for me and my Grandfather to enjoy. Both my grandmothers always made many different cookies during Christmas time. One even made about 20 different ones, I really don’t know how she accomplished that but I loved going through all the cookie tins and filling my cookie plate with all my favorite Plätzchen (German for cookies). These Vanillekipferl were one of them!

This Vanillekipferl Recipe is made without eggs or baking powder! A tradtional German Christmas Cookie that is so tender and perfect for cookie exchanges.

Tips and Tricks for Making this Vanillekipferl Recipe

  • Vanillekipferl are made WITHOUT eggs! Eggs (and baking powder) are not used in traditional recipes, you won’t get the same melt-in-your-mouth texture if you are using eggs.
  • The dough should always stay cold while you are shaping the cookies. Take only 1/4 of the dough out of the fridge so the remaining dough stays cold. Shaping the crescents might take a little bit especially if you’re doing it for the first time.
  • Make sure your crescents are all the same size so they bake evenly.
  • Don’t bake them too long! They should not brown, only the edges should be a little bit golden but the cookie should be pale.
  • In my opinion, dusting the vanilla cookies with vanilla sugar works better than dipping them. It’s easier (and safer) because you don’t have to touch the hot cookies and dip each one into the sugar. Sprinkle the cookies with half of the vanilla sugar immediately after you take the cookie sheet out of the oven and then repeat the process when they are cooled completely.
  • Store the cookies in a cookie tin. That’s the way it’s done in Germany. The cookies will stay fresh for weeks in a cold and dry place.

Vanillekipferl are made with ground nuts and dusted with vanilla sugar! These cookies are tender and melt in you mouth. A great recipe for cookie exchanges and Christmas parties!

How to make Vanillekipferl

Traditional Vanillekipferl are made without eggs or baking powder. The only binding agents are the butter and the nuts. 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.

You will get a dough that looks like crumbs at first, press the crumbs together with your hands to form it into a ball. Don’t handle the dough too much you don’t want the butter to get warm. Chill it for an hour and then form crescents.

German Vanilla Crescent Cookies are only baked for about 15 minutes until the edges are lightly golden, you don’t want them too brown. Take the pan out of the oven and dust them with vanilla sugar. Many recipes say you should dip them in the sugar mixture but I find it easier to dust them because the cookies break very easily.

These cookies keep fresh in an airtight container for up to 3-4 weeks. But most of the time they’re all eaten long before then!

Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies) are traditional German Christmas Cookies made with ground hazelnuts or almonds! They are crispy and buttery and become even better after a few days.

How to make Vanilla Sugar for German Vanilla Crescent Cookies

For this recipe, you need vanilla sugar (German: Vanillezucker). The Kipferl are dusted with a mixture of vanilla sugar and powdered sugar, this is a very important step to make them.

You can buy Vanilla sugar (see link above the recipe) or make your own. It’s really easy and you can use it also for your coffee or other recipes that use sugar and vanilla. Vanilla sugar is used in many traditional German recipes instead of vanilla extract which is difficult to get in Germany.

To make your own vanilla sugar you need 1 cup sugar and 1 vanilla bean. Place the sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Scrape out the vanilla bean using the back of a knife and add the scraped out seeds to the bowl. Pulse the sugar and vanilla seeds until well combines and the sugar resembles powdered sugar.

Store your vanilla sugar in an airtight container or mason jar in a cold and dry place. I always add the scraped out vanilla pod to the jar this adds even more vanilla flavor.

German Vanilla Crescent Cookies are made with ground nuts and make a great addition to your Christmas Cookie Platter! A traditional German Cookie recipe that is always a hit at cookie exchanges.

Looking for more traditional German Christmas Recipes?

German Vanilla Crescent Cookies are traditional German Christmas Cookies made with ground nuts and dusted with vanilla sugar! They are tender, nutty and melt in your mouth.  A perfect cookie to make ahead that's always a hit.

Tools and Ingredients used for making this recipe

Vanilla Sugar: This one is made with real vanilla, don’t buy one with artificial vanilla! The cheapest way is to make your own.
Ground Almonds: This almond meal/flour is made from finely ground almonds and perfect for making Vanilla Crescent Cookies. You can use almond meal with or without the skins or use the same amount of ground hazelnuts or walnuts.
Cookie Tins: Storing the cookies in cookie tins like my Grandmother always did keeps them fresh for weeks.

Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies) are traditional German Christmas Cookies made with ground hazelnuts or almonds! They are crispy and buttery and become even better after a few days.
Print Recipe
4.78 from 9 votes

Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies)

Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies) are traditional German Christmas Cookies made with ground nuts and dusted with vanilla sugar! (Please read the post and watch the video below before making this recipe, these cookies are delicate and are a bit difficult to make but worth the effort! If you have a scale I recommend using the metric measurements!)
Prep Time1 hr 10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Cookie, Dessert
Cuisine: German
Keyword: Vanillekipferl
Servings: 40
Calories: 94kcal
Author: Julia

Ingredients

For the cookie dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour spoon and level (250g)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter soft, cut into small cubes (230g)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar (85g)
  • 3/4 cup finely ground almonds or hazelnuts or walnuts (100g)
  • 1/2 vanilla pod seed scraped out or 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the sugar mixture:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar (85g)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla sugar see note above

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine flour, salt, cubed butter, powdered sugar, ground nuts, and vanilla seeds. Mix at medium speed until a crumbly dough forms, about 1-2 minutes. If the dough is too crumbly add 1-2 Tbsp water.
  • Use your hands to press the dough together and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for one hour in the fridge.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Roll the chilled dough into a log approximately 1/2 inch thick. Cut the log into 1 1/2-inch pieces, form the pieces into small cylinders and taper the ends into dull points. Bend each one into a crescent shape. Place the Vanillekipferl on the baking sheet about 1 inch apart.
  • Bake the Vanillekipferl one cookie sheet at a time for 12 to 15 min (depending on the size of the cookies) until the edges are golden. They should not brown. 
  • Combine powdered sugar with the vanilla sugar and sift the mixture over the hot Vanillekipferl. Let them cool completely then give them a second dusting.
  • These cookies keep fresh for about 3 weeks in an airtight container stored in a cool place.

Nutrition

Calories: 94kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Potassium: 8mg | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2.8% | Calcium: 0.7% | Iron: 2.1%

Watch how to make them!


We posted this recipe 2 years ago. Today we’ve updated the photos, improved the recipe, and included a video tutorial to show you how easy these cookies are to make.

Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies) are traditional German Christmas Cookies made with ground hazelnuts or almonds! They are crispy and buttery and become even better after a few days.

Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies) are traditional German Christmas Cookies made with ground nuts and dusted with vanilla sugar! They are tender, nutty and melt in your mouth. A perfect cookie to make ahead that's always a hit. #christmascookies #crescentcookies #vanillacookies #germanrecipes #cookies

37 Comments

  • Dina

    I noticed there was no mention of egg in the recipe. The dough looks very crumbly. Will the butter be enough to bind the ingredients?

    • Julia

      Hi, Dina! Yes, the butter and the almonds (or hazelnuts) are enough to bind the ingredients. These cookies are traditionally made without eggs. If your dough is too crumbly I would add a little bit more butter. Happy Holidays!

  • Nelly Martin

    Hi! I haven’t made these yet, but they look delicious. I’m allergic to nuts, and was wondering if I could substitute the nuts with something else. Would that work, or would it affect the taste or consistency?
    Thanks!

    • Sarah

      They are traditionally called nusskipferl, as in nut horns. So the nuts are important I can’t see how you can do these without nuts. My Austrian Grandmother has been making these for over 50+ years with walnuts.

  • Pam

    These are delicious but tricky to make. The mixture is easy enough, but the dough is extremely crumbly. I had to warm each piece in my hand before I molded the crescent on my counter. But I guess that is the price one pays for this yummy treat. If anyone has a remedy or a difference experience would like to know. I didn’t have a mother or grandmother who made these, so I’m working in the dark.

  • Melissa Belanger

    I love these! They taste just like a cookie my grandmother used to make when I was growing up! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Liz

    These are so perfect for a cookie exchange because they’re a little unexpected but such a crowd pleaser! Also they’re delicious with a cup of coffee!

  • Ann Hopler

    I have my grandmother’s recipe. She always weighed her ingredients so we had to measure them after she weighed them. She had a scale with weights and my cousins got the scale after she passed. And she used a wooden mold that she put the dough into and then turned over and slammed it on the table. I think they got the mold too! Brings back lots of great memories.

    • Julia

      Freshly ground almonds have more moisture than almond flour so the dough will be more difficult to handle. It might work if you add a tablespoon or two of water.

  • Allison

    I used almond flour. The dough was really too crumbly to work with. You could get it to hold together if you didn’t try to shape it. I ended up adding about 2 tablespoons of milk. I didn’t measure, just carefully added milk until the dough clung to the beater. It will take a few times for me to make really pretty crescents, but it was a cool new recipe for me to try.

  • Maria

    Nuts roasted or not? I made them used roasted almonds, just wondering if they would taste different if the nuts are not roasted.

    Thank you,

    • Julia

      Unroasted nuts are traditionally used and yes, they will taste a bit different with roasted nuts. Roasted nuts taste stronger and might also be a bit drier.

    • Julia

      I haven’t tried this but I think it will work. You just have to keep an eye on them while they are baking because the baking time might be shorter or longer depending on the size of your cookies.

  • Debbie

    Have you ever tried them with almond extract instead of vanilla…just wondering because of not having the vanilla bean. What do you think?

    • Julia

      Yes, using almond extract instead of vanilla will work. They will have a more intense almond flavor which I really like. Happy baking!

  • Natalie

    I am a bit confused as to the ground almonds, is it almond flour I buy? or do I buy ground nuts? or can I grind them myself? sorry for such a silly question but when I clicked one of the links it brought me to almond flour and that is when I got confused. Can you add almond extract for more almond flavoring?

    • Julia

      Sorry for the confusion! Grinding the almond yourself in a food processor or blender is the best and cheapest way, using whole almonds ensures that the ground almonds are fresh and not dried out. Some grocery stores also sell ground almonds in the baking aisle which would also be good because they are not as finely ground as flour and contain more moisture which is important in this recipe. Almond flour is too dry most of the time and makes it necessary to add a tbsp of water or more to get to the right consistency.

      Yes, you can add almond extra for more flavor. Depending on the extract you need to use a few drops or about 1/2 – 1 tsp. Hope this helps!

  • Trudy Maynard

    Hi Julia…
    Your recipe calls for 2 cups, or 250 grams of flour. However, 2 cups of flour is 280 grams.
    My friend just tried to make this, and measured 2cups of flour, as stated in your recipe.
    All that flour has made the dough very dry, and its impossible to form Kipferl from that.
    Please note that 2 cups do not always equal 250 grams. It depends on what you’re measuring.
    I’m german, and grew up metric.

    • Julia

      Hi Trudy, A cup of all-purpose flour weighs 4 1/4 ounces or 120 grams. So 2 cups are actually 240g. Many people measure incorrectly and just scoop flour with a measuring cup out of the bag of flour, this results in too much flour. To measure correctly, your friend should always spoon the flour with a spoon into the measuring cup and then level the cup with the back of a knife. Even though I live in Canada I was born in Germany so I have a lot of experience converting metric to imperial and the other way round 🙂 Happy Holidays!

  • Cally

    The easiest way I’ve found to grind the nuts is to use a blender, and just drop a few at a time in thru the top opening, Cover the opening with your fingers and just drip a few at a time while blender is running between your fingers. Result is fluffy, not stuck together, very similar to the result if you actually grate each nut on a grater (which Mom did back before blenders).
    The cookies can be made into balls rolling between your palms, then squashed down a little with the bottom of a glass, These take the same baking time as the crescents, but are way faster to make.
    Mom also had the wooden form, and actually weighed each portion of dough so they would all be the same. Lots of work but still a family favorite.

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