Saturday, December 22, 2012


Sweet treats are always very appealing at Christmas time. When I was young, my dad would bring home a stollen every year at this time. Another treat we would find when we visited neighbours were baskets filled with a special vanilla sugar cookie known as Vanillekipferl (va neel kip furl) These were delicious crescent-shaped cookies that originated in Vienna, then a part of Austria-Hungary.

There is an interesting story that goes with vanillekipferl. Since the thirteenth century, the Ottoman empire had been battling and conquering lands in Austria-Hungary. Finally, in 1683, German, Polish and Austro-Hungarian forces defeated the Turks and finally ran them out of Europe for good. After the joyous victory, the bakers mimicked the Turkish flag's crescent emblem by baking crescent-shaped sugar cookies. Also noteworthy is the Turks leaving behind sacks of coffee beans which led to the famous European coffee houses, one in Liepzig where J.S.Bach hung out and wrote his famous secular Coffee Cantata in the 1730's . Vanillekipferl, those vanilla crescent cookies with that historic crescent-shape, were served all over Vienna and today are beloved Christmas cookies not only with central Europeans but also by those descendants living here in the USA, who call them Christmas Vanilla Cookies. In the eighteenth century when the vanilla cookies were brought to Paris, bakers there took that crescent shape and created the flaky Croissant (French for “crescent”).

Basically these Christmas Vanilla Crescent Cookies include ground nuts, usually almonds and/or hazelnuts, along with the vanilla for flavour. Often they are dusted with powdered sugar and sometimes dipped in chocolate.

Here is a fine vanillekipferl recipe, from Saveur magazine which uses walnuts for the nut flavouring.

Christmas Vanilla Crescent Cookies              Makes 4 dozen


1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for finishing cookies
½ pound. unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups walnuts, finely ground in food processor
2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for rolling


Heat oven to 325F

Beat together sugar, butter, and vanilla in a bowl; mix in ground nuts and flour.

Flour and roll into a cylinder.

Divide into 48 pieces.

Roll each piece into a sausage shape.

Taper ends; bend into a crescent.

Transfer to parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 1" apart.

Bake until golden-coloured, about 12–15 minutes.

Sift with confectioners' sugar. Let cool

Enjoy these wonderful, historic cookies, served at Christmas for more than 300 years.

The Education Tipster and I wish everyone everywhere peace and love this Christmas season.


Eat To Live said...

Anthony... I emailed you back both times. Not sure why you didn't get it.

I just sent another one. Did you check your spam? With all the links, it might have been sent to spam.

These cookies sound like one my Mother in Law makes.

Eat To Live said...

Okay... I sent it from my yahoo account. I don't use it and never check it. AOL sometimes doesn't work with gmail so maybe they don't work with yahoo either.

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Oh, I love these cookies, Anthony! I make mine with pecans, but yours must be just as delicious! Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!!!

Swathi said...

Anthony, This crescent cookies looks delicious. walnut ones are really good.

Joyce said...

I am a big fan of the Christmas cookie. We make dozens-this recipe looks good. My mother in law makes stollen and it's delicious... My father in law has been known to hide it from the rest of us : ) Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Jehanne said...

I've been seeing this on the web this time of the year, and the previous year maybe its time I make some at home too! very delicious looking.


Torviewtoronto said...

delicious cookies to celebrate the season
Happy holidays and Happy new year to you and family

cookingvarieties said...

hi anthony. how have you been?
these cookies sure looks delicious with the nuts..yes with coffee too.
wishing you and family a Merry christmas and a Happy new year.

sure you all will be having great fun with the season's fiesta of foodies

Leovi said...

Deliciously rich .... I love those cookies.

anthony stemke said...

MY JOURNEY WITH CANDIDA: OK, I got it now. Thanks and have a very merry Christmas.

anthony stemke said...

LIZZY DO: I figured that you would be familiar with these. I suppose any nut would do. Have a great Christmas.

SWATHI IYER: Vanillekipferl are indeed delicious and I like the history that accompanies them.

JOYCE: These are a lot easier to make than Stollen. Hope you get to bake some vanillekipferlin. Merry Christmas to all of you.

anthony stemke said...

JEHANNE: Yes make some, these are a great Christmas tradition. Merry Christmas.

TORVIEW: Thanks. May your New Year be filled with joy and prosperity.

anthony stemke said...

COOKINGVARIETIES: I've been well, thank you. Have a great Christmas and a happy new year.

LEOVI: Thank you and Feliz Navidad.

Manzanita said...

Anthony, I always enjoy the bits of history that go along with your recipe.

I got something funny to tell you. I was going to make the German onion tart for Thanksgiving send to my daughters.... so I got out all the ingredients and then I remembered I don't have an oven. I'm living in town for the winter and I gave the old gas stove the heave-ho, as it was leaking gas. I'm not in a hurry to get another stove as I have a hot plate, crock pots and the outside propane wok burner. Had to put everything back. Ha ha

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Simple and it can be made without chocolate. (As a vegan who doesn't eat chocolate, I am hard pressed to find deserts lacking dairy or chocolate.)

anthony stemke said...

MANZANITA: I had to chuckle mirthfully (cm) when I read this. Oy, I couldn't last more than a day sans oven.
Have a great Christmas.

L DIANE WOLFE: But chocolate isn't animal (just kidding). I hope you can find a butter substitute and I bet you can. Merry Christmas.

Unknown said...

Merry Christmas to you too!! I love Stollen (the ones Ibuy from World Market at this time) But I would love to bake one sometime. Your cookies looks perfect!!

Anonymous said...

Oh yummy. Thanks for the Holiday wishes Anthony. May you and your family have a very merry Christmas.

Theresa Milstein said...

Vanilla extract makes desserts that much better. Sounds like a another delicious recipe.

I wish you a wonderful holiday season.

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

Buon Natale these look delicous!

P.S. That website has a coupon code at the end of my blog for 25.00 off and they have seafood as low as 16.95... it's for all my readers so take advantage of it and Merry Christmas good through February...

Chaton T. Turner said...


Thanks for your support over te pat year. I bet those would be great with Earl Grey tea?!

I pray that you, your wife and that gorgeous little girl Have a Merry Christmas!!!

Golden Eagle said...

I love vanilla. Thanks for the recipe!

Merry Christmas! :)

Lynn Proctor said...

mmmm these look divine!! merry Christmas!!

Magia da Inês said...

♡♡ ✿ °•.¸

Biscoitos deliciosos.

Muita saúde, muita paz e muitas alegrias!


anthony stemke said...

MALLI DAL: When you bake a Stollen or Vanillekipferl you will love it.


THERESA MILSTEIN: My best to you.

CLAUDIA LAMASCOLO: I am sure the quality is very high and the coupon does keep the price within reason. Have a wonderful Christmas.

CHATON: Indeed these vanillekipferl would be perfect with a cup of Earl Grey.
I hope you and your family have a delightful Christmas.

THE GOLDEN EAGLE: You're welcome and Thank you.

LYNN PROCTER: I hope your Chtistmas is fillede with joy.

MAGIA DA INES: Espere que você goza um Natal encantador.

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

What a delicious sounding cookie and a great recipe!

Anonymous said...

Those cookies look yummy!

I hope you and Kathy had a great Christmas. : )

Alexis AKA MOM said...

Wow they look so pretty! I bet they tasted amazing!

Dawn @ Words Of Deliciousness said...

Yum, these cookie look perfect for Christmas. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

You are a veritable font of information, dear sir. I've been making variations of this cookie for many years, (like with anise... or coated in sesame seeds) but never knew why they were shaped that way.

I hope y'all had a wonderful Christmas, and here's to an even better new year.

Kalyan Panja said...

delicious looking cookies... seasons greetings!

anthony stemke said...

JEAN: Thank you Jean xox.

SUSANNE DRAZIC: Kathy ill with bronchitus, ear infection and sinus infection. Going on two weeks but visiting doctor and taking much medicine. Should be recovering soon. She had trouble tasting over the holidays.

ALEXIS AKA MOM: Yes, they are a classic cookie.

WORDS OF DELICIOUSNESS: Yes they are and thank you - we did.

anthony stemke said...

SUSAN FLETT SWIDERSKI: Thanks for those kind words Susan. I've vanillekipferl with orange flavour, I imagine a wide range of flavour essences couls be used.
Hope you have an exciting and wonderful New Year.

KALYAN P: Thank You. Happy holidays to you and yours. said...

yummy n tasty..
Wishing you & family a very Happy New Year !!

Purabi Naha said...

Hi Anthony, a very Happy New Year to you! I loved these Christmas treats. Looking forward to sharing and learning more recipes from you!

Missed Periods said...

Those look just like the cookies the owner used to make at a Lebanese restaurant I worked in. Could they be the same?

LoLy said...

Sorry I was l'il busy lately with redecorating my place :D YAAAAAAAAAY..
So I didn't have much time to blog, but I really do miss this place girl :D Sure will visit you more often..
Have a Blasting day


anthony stemke said...

MAHA GADDE: I wish you the same.

PURABI NAHA: Hi. Hong Kong, Mumbai, I wish I could visit there riht now. Happy New Year to you too.

anthony stemke said...

MISSED PERIODS: Yes they could be similar or at least identical if not the exact same. I was in central Florida recently and enjoyed Lebanese dishes.

LOLY: Hi, I bet your place looks great. Thanks for checking in, stay cool.

Magia da Inês said...

Boa segunda-feira!

anthony stemke said...

MAGIA DA INES: Muitas felicidades para você

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