All cultures and countries have wonderful food to celebrate their festivals. In Austria, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the ubiquitous Vanille Kipferl, the Vanilla Crescent. Over the years I have been baking tons of the stuff. Hanna, our first grandchild, helped to bake them as soon as she was old enough to want to do it. She became really good at it and later taught her brother and sister the secrets of how to bake the perfect Vanilla Crescent. I have posted the recipe including all the handy tips, as some of my FB friends were interested.
10 oz (300g) plain flour
8 oz (240g) unsalted butter (essential)
2 oz (60g) sugar (caster)
4 oz (120g) ground almonds
(buy almonds with brown skin on and grind with skin – should be ground fairly fine)
Icing Sugar with Vanilla Sugar, mixed, for coating.
Sift 4 oz of icing sugar into a largish bowl or similar and mix in 1 sachet of Bourbon Vanilla Sugar. If you have icing sugar which contains pods of vanilla then you can omit the addition of the sachet.
Rub the butter into the flour, add the sugar and the ground almonds and work them together into a ball of dough, keeping the touch light to make sure the dough stays ‘short’. ( This can nowadays be done in a food processor) Take small portions of this pastry, roll them into a sausage shape about 1" in diameter and cut the sausage into small pieces. Form each of these small pieces into a crescent shape, put them onto a baking tray (lightly greased) and bake in a moderate oven for 6 - 7 mins (maybe a little longer - until they are just turning a biscuit colour - not too dark). Take them out of the oven and gently take them off the tray immediately with a slotted metal slice and place them on a wire-rack to cool slightly. (I find it helps to knock the tray once or twice on the table top to loosen the crescents if they stick). Place them into the bowl with the vanilla flavoured icing sugar and coat them completely. Handle them carefully, because they are rather fragile. Take them out of the icing sugar and place them into a tin. When they are all in the tin, sift some of the icing sugar over the top. When the crescents in the tin are completely cold, put on the lid and keep them in a cool place, away from sunlight (very important)until needed. They keep well for about one to two month in an airtight container.
On this picture you can see that Yasmin and Aania have shaped the dough into a sausage and have cut off small portions to be made into crescents. They then placed them onto a baking tray thus.
When they came out of the oven (notice the colour – they must not be darker than this) the girls turned them in the Vanilla icing sugar and placed them into a tin.
When completely cool, the tin will be closed and the crescents stored in a dark, cool place. They improve with time and can be stored for a couple of months at least.
I baked some as well that day and here are some that I made!
Some photos of Hanna, Roman and Tabatha making Vanilla Crescents.