Vanilla Crescents or Vanillekipferli are an old Viennese traditional cookie made with ground almonds and fresh vanilla beans. The dough is shaped by hand into crescents before baking and then dusted with copious amounts of vanilla sugar after. They’re buttery like shortbread, nutty and soft, much like a Mexican wedding cookie or a Russian tea cake.
If you have vanilla sugar already on hand you can use that to dust them. An easy way to make vanilla sugar is to use your scraped out vanilla beans. Fill an airtight container with sugar and immerse the beans in it. The vanilla sugar will be ready to use in a day or two but the longer you leave it the better. This way you can always have vanilla sugar on hand!
I love that such a delicious cookie comes out of so few ingredients! I hope Santa likes them!
1. Pulse the flour, almonds and salt together in food processor to coarsely chop nuts, then process until nuts are finely ground.
2. In a large bowl beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla beans and beat for 1 minute, add confectioner’s sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolk. Add about one-third of flour mixture and mix on low speed. Gradually add remaining flour mixture mixing until just blended.
3. Scrape dough onto plastic wrap and shape into a large, flat disc, cover well and refrigerate until firm about 1 hour or overnight.
4. To make topping pulse sugars and vanilla together in food processor and add to a small bowl; set aside.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
6. Roll dough between your palms or on a lightly floured surface into 1/2-inch wide x 2 and 1/2-inch long logs with slightly tapered ends. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets and bend into a crescent shape. Repeat until all the dough is used up.
7. Bake until light golden brown around edges and on bottom about 15 minutes. Slide parchment onto wire racks and cool for a 1-2 minutes, then roll in vanilla sugar, put back on parchment to continue cooling.
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