Vegan vanilla crescents (vanillekipferl)

Vegan vanilla crescents (vanillekipferl)

vegan vanilla crescent cookies plate

I spent last weekend in London catching up with an old friend, shopping at a big pottery market, learning about drawing anime characters from my friend’s kids, getting tipsy with her neighbours, eating good food and sampling delicious vegan cheeses. It was a lot of fun and I hope we can do a repeat soon. Now that I am back, after much needed relaxation, I’m eager to do some baking and cooking again. I hope to bring you a few more festive recipes before I put my feet up until the end of the year.

Today’s cookies known as vanilla crescent cookies in English (my gran used to call them waniliowe rożki) were my childhood Xmas cookie staple. My maternal grandma used to make at least a dozen of different cookies every Xmas and there was no talking her out of it, even when she was in her mid to late 80’s. Her daughters pleaded with her to take it easy but she was uncompromising and adamant that there needs to be a lot of variety on her Xmas table.

I rang both my mum and my auntie asking for this recipe and I ended up with two quite different recipes despite them apparently coming from grandma…and so delightfully imprecise too. If I was to publish a baking recipe this vague, I think I would get a lot of angry emails 🙂 . I concluded that either gran must have had another (secret) recipe notebook or she simply held all her recipes in her head, which is admirable given that she only made these for Xmas and they were always to die for.

These delicate vanilla-scented almond cookies originated in Austria but since Krakow (where my gran was born and lived all her life) was a part of Habsburg Empire (known as Austrian Galicia), they became part of Polish Xmas tradition too. They are delicious and not hard to make at all. I find that they are the easiest and quickest to make in a food processor. You can, of course, make the dough by hand too, but be sure to treat the dough gently (like you would any shortbread) so that you don’t allow much gluten to develop in the process. I have taken the liberty to add a small amount of ground cardamom to my version, which not sure my gran would approve of, but I like its floral flavour in these simple cookies and I hope you’ll too. If you are not a cardamom fan, leave it out.

vegan vanilla crescent cookies dough

vegan vanilla crescent cookies shaping

vegan vanilla crescent cookies raw baked

vanilla crescent cookies rows

vegan vanilla crescent cookies icing

vegan vanilla crescent cookies tray

makes
20
PREP
30 min
COOKING
12 min
makes
20
PREPARATION
30 min
COOKING
12 min
INGREDIENTS
METHOD
  1. If making gluten-free version, hydrate psyllium husks in 2 tbsp water, set aside to jellify.
  2. Cut vegan butter (vegan block) or coconut oil into small dice. Use refined coconut oil for a coconut free taste. Use only 80 g (2.8 oz) of butter for gluten-free version or else the dough will be too wet and crumbly.
  3. Place 40 g / ¼ cup icing sugar, flour, almond flour (or ground almonds), salt and cardamom (if using) in a food processor together with cubed fat. Pulse a few times, until the fat gets evenly distributed and the mixture sticks together when you pinch it. Alternatively, you could make the dough by hand, using a pastry cutter (or two knifes) first and then your fingers.
  4. Next, add in vanilla extract or paste, almond essence and (if making these gluten-free) rehydrated psyllium husks and pulse again. If using powdered vanilla, you may need to add a teaspoon of water if the dough is still too dry to come together. Transfer to a bowl and shape the dough into a disc. Wrap in clingfilm or baking paper and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes (or longer). I found that the gluten-free version needs a bit longer in the fridge (4 hrs or longer).
  5. While the dough is resting, mix icing sugar with vanilla powder or vanilla seeds (from a pod) to dust the cookies with as soon as they leave the oven. If you only have the liquid form of the vanilla, skip and simply use icing sugar on its own. Prepare a baking tray.
  6. 15 minutes before the cookie dough is ready to roll, preheat the oven to 175° C / 345° F.
  7. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions, roll each into a finger width snake, cut into 7.5 cm / 3 inch segments and shape into crescents. Alternatively, using scales – form crescents out of 15 g / ½ oz portions of the dough.
  8. Arrange the crescents on a paper-lined baking tray and bake until lightly golden, about 10-12 minutes.
  9. Dust them with vanilla icing sugar whilst still warm and allow them to cool down completely before removing from the baking tray. Store in an airtight cookie jar.

NOTES
*ALMONDS: Both skin-on and blanched almonds work well, skin on, roasted ones impart more flavour though. For convivence, you can also use almond flour / meal.

*CARDAMOM: Skip if you aren’t a fan or sub with cinnamon.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
78
4%
sugars
3 g
3%
fats
4 g
6%
saturates
1 g
4%
proteins
1 g
3%
carbs
8 g
3%
*per cookie
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5.0
6 reviews, 10 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Yvonne:
Hi Ania, I have made quite a few different vanilla crescents recipes (almost always good tasting) but these were really perfect in every way: the dough came together easily (not too sticky nor too dry) and they taste so very, very delicious! I was generous with the cardamom because I love it when cookies have some spice in it besides the vanilla, but I left out the almond extract (I did not have any). I made the version with gluten and vegan butter. I will never get tired of making and eating these : ) Thank you very much for another delicious recipe!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Yvonne,
    I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed these, especially the gluten-free version as that's always tricker to get right. And I really appreciate you taking the time to leave this review, thank you! x Ania
Alexandra:
Extreeemely delicious! Got eaten up within a couple of hours and there's only two of us (oops... 😅 ) Thank you for this lovely recipe!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yay, thank you, I am so happy to hear that! And it's the same in my house, no dessert is safe ;) x Ania
Batel:
Great recipe! They came out delicious!
Thank you 😊 💚
    Ania
    Ania:
    Lovely to hear! Thank you. x Ania
Petra:
I made them today and they are lovely! I love vanilla crescents but they are not very common here in the UK (which is a shame). However my grandma makes them every year (I am from the Czech Republic) and since I can't go and have them there, I am so happy I found this recipe. They are very easy to make - the recipe is well written and they are just so delicious.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yay! I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed them and that they brought you a taste of home in these uncertain times (I have not been home for over 2 years too :( ) Many thanks for taking the time to review - I really appreciate it. x Ania
Ella:
These look delicious! Do you think I'd have much success freezing the dough, a week in advance of baking and defrosting? Thanks in advance!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Ella,
    I think so as it's simply a type of shortbread pastry that usually freezes well. You could try baking a couple (just to be sure) straight from frozen - they will need a little longer. Hope this helps! x Ania
Miche:
Great recipe, easy to follow, the shortbread biscuits are delicious.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yay, thank you! I am delighted to hear that thanks so much for taking the time to let me know that they were a hit - really appreciate it! x Ania
Diana:
I find it really hard to get nice vegan cheese. Most of them are foul (sorry if that's strong but it's how I feel). Do you buy them or are there delicatessens that do decent ones?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Diana,
    I went to a vegan cheeseshop whilst in London (called Fauxmagerie) that sells a selection of vegan cheeses from different artisan makers. I tried their soft goat cheese, Roquefort and a smoky cheese and was pretty impressed with all three. They are properly aged (rather than just made with acid) and, although I have not eaten cheese in 7 years so I may not be the best judge, I feel like they are pretty close to their dairy versions. They did make me smile. x Ania
Tracy:
I love it when you post Polish-inspired recipes!! My grandmother & great-grandmother were very polish and I remember treats like these when I was very very young.
I know it's not traditional, but could you shape these differently and still have them turn out ok? I'm thinking traditional round cookie shape. Or would they be too dense then?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Tracy, lovely to hear that these have brought back nice childhood memories for you too! I have never seen them shaped like that but I don't see why not - they are simply shortbread cookies (their baking time may be a bit different though). Hope this helps! x Ania
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