Viennese vanilla crescent cookies are a tradition in Austria. They’re made with hazelnuts and shaped like a half-moon and dusted with confectioners’ sugar. One nibble and we think you’ll understand why they’re a classic.
These Viennese vanilla crescent cookies are traditional Christmas cookies in Austria. As Gourmet magazine wrote, “From Vienna, city of music, laughter, and good food comes a cookie so delicate, so fragile, so meltingly good that it takes its place with the most famous of Vienna’s justly famous pastries.” We’re incredibly taken by these cookies and their soulful crunch, delicate texture, and dusting of confectioners’ sugar that’s as light as fall’s first snowfall. We were also more than a little curious as to their proper name. Turns out it’s Vanillekipferl, although don’t ask us how to pronounce it. Or how to say it three times fast. Especially not when we’re distracted with our mouths full of these little lovelies. Originally published October 1, 2006.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Viennese Vanilla Crescent Cookies
- Quick Glance
- 1 H
- 4 H
- Makes about 4 dozen cookies
- For the vanilla confectioners' sugar (for coating)
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and chopped
- For the crescents
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup skinned hazelnuts (5 oz)
- 3 sticks cold unsalted butter (12 oz), cut into 24 pieces
- Make the vanilla confectioners’ sugar
- 1. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla bean in an airtight container and let stand, covered, for at least 24 hours. The vanilla sugar keeps indefinitely in an airtight container at room temperature. Sift before using.
- Make and bake the Viennese vanilla crescent cookies
- 2. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, salt, and hazelnuts until the nuts are finely ground. Add the butter and pulse just until a dough forms. Turn the dough onto your work surface and and gently form it into a ball and then flatten it into a disk. The dough may be slightly stiff and crumbly. Wrap it in plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.
- 3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven.
- 4. Roll level tablespoons of dough (18 grams) into balls. Then roll each ball on a smooth surface into a 3-inch log with slightly tapered ends. Bend each log to form crescents and arrange about 1 inch apart on baking sheets. If you have hot hands, occasionally cup a few ice cubes in your palm. It really helps.
- 5. Bake in batches until the edges are pale golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.
- Coat the Viennese vanilla crescent cookies
- 6. While the crescents are baking, sift enough Vanilla Confectioners’ Sugar onto a rimmed baking sheet to cover the bottom. Carefully transfer the slightly cooled baked crescent cookies to the sugared baking sheet and sprinkle with enough Vanilla Confectioners’ Sugar to coat completely. Transfer the crescents to wire racks to cool completely.
The cookies keep, layered between sheets of wax or parchment paper, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.