Sunday, May 29, 2011

Vanilla Kipferl

I think I mentioned that when I was leaving America after Pesach, I cleaned out my mother's baking cabinets of things that I could use that were just sitting there. I took back a 7 pound bag of light brown sugar (working my way through!), a bag of chocolate chips, a few bars of chocolate, natural powder, and bags and bags of ground nuts. I thought I won the jackpot with the ground nuts but for a while at least they just sat in my kitchen cabinets. With my moving date fast approaching, I decided I had to make a dent in them somehow. I faintly remembered lots of cookie recipes using ground nuts in the KAF Cookie Companion, so that's where I started my search. I immediately settled on Vanilla Kipferl, an old-fashioned Austrian cookie (in fact, my brother in law commented that these were something his grandmother would make but I think he was just stirring the pot...) made with ground almonds (score!) and dipped in vanilla sugar, a full canister I happened to have sitting around. The dough came together really fast in the stand mixer and I let the dough chill overnight thinking I would bake them the next day. Wrong! I didn't bake these until Friday afternoon when I realized that I hadn't baked anything to bring for my sister. Thankfully, I remembered the kipferl dough and not wanting it to go to waste, started shaping them into their traditional crescent shape. For a recipe so simple and made from so few ingredients, these cookies really went and they were enjoyed by my sister and brother in law although let's just say my niece's tastes aren't nut inclined. These cookies are the perfect accompaniment to tea or or coffee but they'd also be right at home on a dessert table as well. Just make sure not to burn the bottoms ;)

Vanilla Kipferl
from KAF Cookie Companion

Vanilla Sugar:
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1/2- 1 vanilla bean

7/8 cup unsalted butter or margarine
1/2 tsp salt
7 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
2 1/3 cups almond flour or ground almonds

To make the vanilla sugar, process the sugar and the vanilla in the work bowl of your food processor until the bean is thoroughly ground. Transfer to a container; cover and set aside until ready to use.
Place the margarine, salt, sugar and  vanilla in the bowl of your mixer.
Beat until smooth.
Add the flour and ground nuts,
and beat until a cohesive dough is formed. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchments.
Break off small pieces of dough and roll into balls. Form the balls into logs and bend them into crescent shapes. If they start to crack, just press it back together. Place the crescents on the baking sheets. They won't spread much at all, so you can pack a nice amount onto one sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Allow them to cool on their sheets for about ten minutes.
Transfer each cookie to the container of vanilla sugar and roll to coat.

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