Well, I couldn't tell you all about my wonderful Oma without sharing some cookie recipes, now could I? These are my version of Vanillekipferl. They fill the whole house with the scents of vanilla and almond, and are usually the first Christmas cookie I make. Even though the recipe is simple and the cooking time short, I like how making this cookie helps me slow down during this very busy season. Each piece of dough is shaped into a crescent by hand, and there's really no rushing that process.
~makes about 40 cookies
2 Cups all-purpose flour, organic white unbleached
1/3 Cup sugar
3/4 Cup almonds, ground finely
1/2 of a whole vanilla bean, cut lengthwise and the seeds scraped out
1 Cup butter, chilled
4 ounces sweetened baking chocolate, melted for dipping
1. Mix together flour, sugar, almonds, and vanilla bean seeds
2. Cut in the butter, but don't worry about mixing it too thoroughly
3. Turn the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead until a dough ball is formed and the butter is incorporated. The dough will be soft and break apart easily.
4. Divide the dough into fourths and form each fourth into a log. Cut the log into 1/2 inch pieces for the individual cookies
5. Shape each cookie into a crescent. I do this by forming the dough around the tip of my thumb
6. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes at 325 degrees F. The bottoms should be slightly browned, and the cookie will still be quite soft when you remove them from the oven to cool
7. Cool on a wire rack while you slowly melt the chocolate in a saucepan
8. Dip the tips of each cookie in the chocolate and place in the refrigerator to cool
note: Just so you don't get unnecessarily frustrated, these cookies are very delicate. In fact, they're sometimes downright flaky (in both senses of that word!) until they've fully cooled. So, you will very likely break some. I see this as a positive thing, as these end up being our taste tester cookies! You can chill the dough in the refrigerator for up to 30 minutes before cooking, which helps a little with the breakage. Just realize you might have to cook them a bit longer in this case. The best thing to do, though, is wait a couple minutes before transferring them from the cookie sheet to the cooling rack after removing them from the oven.
|Casualties! Ah well, more for me ;)|
Traditionally, vanillekipferl are dusted in powdered sugar, but my oma always dipped them in chocolate so that's how I do it.