Thursday, November 19, 2009


Tonight is the premiere of a certain silly movie and my sisters and friend Lindsay are going to the midnight premiere. I'm only jealous because they'll have fun without me. As a treat I made them some vanillekipferl to munch on throughout the evening. This recipe I procured from Gwyneth Paltrow's weekly newsletter "GOOP." Her neighbor in London is an Austrian woman who loves to cook and is a holocaust survivor. The woman, whose name is Evi, gives a brief history of the cookies:

"On the 12th of September in 1683, after years of occupation, the Turkish Army was defeated by the Austrians and retreated from Vienna and Austria. To celebrate this event the Austrians created the ‘Vanillekipferl,’ shaped in the form of the Turkish flag."
She goes on to say that although there are many kipferl recipes out there, this one is the real one. Here it is:

YIELD: About 10 dozen very small cookies (mine only made about 3 dozen, so obviously hers are a LOT smaller than mine were. I made them bigger because I had no idea what it was really supposed to look like and also was short on time and cookie sheets)
· 1/3 cup superfine sugar (when looking for this, I first went to Williams-Sonoma, and found some Creme Brulee superfine sugar, but didn't buy it because there was no one at the counter. It was $5 for a little package. I then went to Target and found a carton of the stuff priced the same as regular sugar and got it there. Thank goodness Williams-Sonoma was understaffed today! If you don't want to buy it, you can put some sugar in the blender until it's really fine, but not too fine)
· 1/3 cup ground almonds (they only sell them slivered that I could find, so break out that blender again and grind some up. We don't have a blender so I chopped them finely with a knife and it took forever but had good results)
· 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature (I always seem to have trouble getting things at room temperature. I got the butter out early but it was still really cold and hard, so I microwaved it, then it was too runny, so I put it in the freezer, which made it all weird, so don't do that. Just get it out like an hour or two early.)
· 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour*
· pinch of salt (I didn't use this since I made the self-rising flour and it was salty already)
· 1/4 cup icing sugar (DON'T PUT IT IN THE DOUGH, IT'S FOR LATER!!!)
*If you can’t find self-rising flour, simply measure out one cup unbleached, all-purpose flour and remove two teaspoons. Add a half teaspoon salt and one-and-a-half teaspoons baking powder. (This means for the whole 2 1/2 cups of flour, you'll put in 2 1/4 tsp salt and 3 3/4 tsps baking powder)

Mix the superfine sugar, almonds, butter, flour and salt together in a bowl with a wooden spoon or your hands. Let the dough chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. (I covered it in plastic wrap so it wouldn't dry out)

Roll the dough into half-inch thick ropes and cut into quarter-inch thick slices. (I made the mistake of putting the powdered sugar in the dough, so mine was drier than it should've been and therefore un-rollable. I just pulled off crumbly chunks and shaped them that way)

Shape each slice into a small crescent and place on ungreased cookie sheets. You can space them quite close together as they don’t expand that much. (They really don't, mine were like a centimeter apart)

Let the cookies rest for half an hour. (I only let them rest about 15 minutes and they were fine, but I was on a tight schedule)

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350ºF. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes (until they’re barely browned), rotating the trays after six minutes. (For some reason my oven wasn't actually as hot as it claimed to be, so the first batch had to cook about 20 minutes. The second batch I cooked for 16 minutes but it was a bit too long because it darkened the bottoms a little too much)

Move the cookies to a wire rack and let cool for ten minutes before sifting over the icing sugar. Allow the cookies to cool completely before eating. (I found that the sugar stuck better if added when the cookies were still hot, so you can do that. Also, they're kind of better warm, but that's just my opinion.)


Jared and Megan said...

they were yummy. I have them... bwahahaha.

I wish I had some fresh out of the oven, but I can try microwaving them.

LP said...

They sound good. I think your commentary was very helpful. I would've never thought to look for superfine sugar at Target.

Shannon said...

Oh! I forgot to mention: they are supposed to taste good with hot chocolate, liked dipped in it.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you still blog here but this was such a find for me! My grandma (sadly passed now) always used to make these biscuits for my sister and I based on a recipe her Jewish friend gave her!!! I have been looking everywhere for an authentic recipe to match my grandmas and this is it! So happy, yet so emotional to stumble upon this post! Thank you!