Vanilla Crescent Cookies (Vanillekipferl)

Delicious Vanilla Crescent Cookies for the Upcoming Holiday Season!

Want a classic cookie recipe that is always a hit? You’ve got to try vanilla crescent cookies. These delicious cookies are buttery, crumbly, and wonderfully sweet.

It’s easy to whip together a large batch… which you’ll need because these cookies never last too long when they’re sitting on the dessert plate!

Originally from Austria, these cookies – called Vanillekipferl in German – are also a very popular Christmas cookie in Germany.

In fact, you can find a number of similar variations across parts of Eastern Europe like Czechia and Hungary. For example, almond crescent cookies are essentially the same ingredients just with an emphasis on different parts of the cookie.

vanilla crescent cookie coated in icing sugar with cookies behind
Delicious vanilla crescent cookies – perfect for the Holidays!

Apparently, these cookies ultimately originate from the days of the Ottoman Empire – where the crescent shape (the moon) was often utilized to symbolize the Empire.

Eric’s Hungarian grandma even used to make a similar crescent cookie that crumbled apart, too! However you know them, these cookies are always a hit.

Looking for other popular holiday treats? Try our recipes for German rum balls, cinnamon stars, and mulled wine – red or white!

When making vanilla crescent cookies, there are a few rules to follow since the dough could break if you do not prepare it correctly. For example, it’s quite important that your ingredients are cold.

To make it easier for the dough to turn out well, we use one egg yolk in our recipe (as a kind of “glue”). Originally, vanilla crescent cookies were made without an egg but the egg version is completely acceptable.

vanilla crescent cookies on a plate with green behind
These vanilla crescent cookies taste amazing but also look nice on your holiday table spread.

How to make Vanilla Crescent Cookies (with photos)

If you’re a little unsure about how to make these delicious little crescent cookies, you can follow along with a few process photos!

cut butter pieces in metal mixing bowl
Cut your butter into pieces. They don’t have to be tiny.

The first step is to remove the butter from the fridge and cut it into smaller pieces. Be sure to move kind of quickly when you cut and then mix in the next ingredients because everything needs to stay cold.

ball of vanilla crescent cookie dough in metallic mixing bowl
Here’s the ball of cold dough – all mixed and ready to go!

Once all the ingredients are mixed, the dough will look like this. Get it back in the fridge to get cold again before the next step begins!

dough rolled out on counter
The cookie dough should look something like this rolled out…

With your dough mixed and cold in the fridge, remove a small chunk at a time (about a quarter of the dough) and roll it into a “sausage” on your surface.

Once you get the desired thickness, cut the roll into 3-inch sections and curve them to form the crescents.

raw cookie dough in crescent shapes on baking sheet
When the crescents are shaped on the baking pan, this is what ours looked like!

You can pinch the ends of the crescents. The exact shape won’t really affect the baking – but the thickness will.

Make sure that all the cookies are roughly the same size and thickness or else they will bake unevenly. You might have crispy ends and a doughy center and that’s no good – so stick to a uniform thickness.

crescent cookies covered in powder sugar on baking sheet
Lightly dust the hot cookies with powdered sugar – they’ll look like this!

Once the cookies are lightly browning in the oven, remove them from the oven, remove the parchment paper from the hot pan (be careful), and then dust the cookies in powdered sugar. This “first coating” while the cookies are hot creates a bit of a glaze on the cookies.

vanilla crescent cookies on white counter with green branch behind
Vanilla crescent cookies – ready to be enjoyed!

And there you have it – you’ve got yourself some vanilla crescent cookies ready to be eaten! You can always sprinkle more powdered sugar on them when they are cooled off for taste and design.

Vanilla Crescent Cookies FAQ

plate of vanilla cookies with pine tree branch beside
Vanilla crescent cookies waiting to be eaten.

If you’re planning to make these cookies for the holidays (or for any occasion, really), here are a few things you should know about or consider before and after baking!

How long can you store vanilla crescent cookies?

If you store them in a cookie tin or plastic container in a cool and dry place, the cookies will typically stay fresh for three weeks.

How cold should the butter be?

Really cold. The butter (and the dough with the butter mixed in) needs to remain cold (fresh out of the fridge) or else the dough will likely fall apart and/or the consistency of the baked cookies will be off.

How much powdered sugar should go on the crescent cookies?

As much or as little as you like. We lightly dusted ours but some vanilla crescent cookies are absolutely coated in powdered sugar all around. It’s really up to personal preference.

vanilla crescent cookies on a plate with green behind

Vanilla Crescent Cookies (Vanillekipferl)

Yield: 44
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

These Vanilla Crescent Cookies are perfectly sweet, soft yet crumbly, and really easy to make. Finished off with a light dusting of powdered sugar, these Austrian cookies don't stand a chance on your holiday dessert plate!

Ingredients

The Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter, cold
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk (from medium-sized egg)

The Topping

  • powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Cut the cold butter into small pieces.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, butter, almonds, sugar, vanilla extract, and egg yolk with your hands until it forms a ball.
  3. Wrap the dough in cling film and place it in the fridge for one hour.
  4. Once the hour is up, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and put parchment paper on your baking sheet.
  5. Place a small amount of flour on the counter and remove 1/4 of the dough from the fridge. You should only take out a small amount of dough at a time and let the rest stay cold. Roll out the dough with your hands until it becomes a long "sausage" with a thickness of approx. 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch.
  6. Cut the dough into 3-inch long pieces and curve them so they look like crescents. Make sure to slightly pinch the ends for a nicer look. Place the cookies on a baking sheet. Repeat step 5 and 6 until you have used up all the dough.
  7. Bake the cookies for approximately 15 minutes on the middle rack of the oven. Since every oven is different, your baking time might vary slightly. Remove the cookies once the edges have started to brown.
  8. Take the cookies out of the oven and lift the parchment paper with the cookies from the baking sheet. Right away carefully move the cookies towards the center of the parchment paper and dust them in powdered sugar. Alternatively, you can also roll them in powdered sugar, but the cookies are more likely to break if you do that.

Notes

  • It's important that the butter is quite cold. Otherwise, it's more likely that the dough falls apart.
  • Some traditional vanilla crescent cookies are made without egg. However, this also makes it much more likely that the dough falls apart. Making the dough with one egg yolk is the "safer option".

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 44 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 90Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 45mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice. The exact values can vary depending on the specific ingredients used.

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