Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Vanillekipferln - Vanilla crescents...Frohe Weihnachten!

It's not a secret that I miss Germany. It's no secret that I love baking. How about having a festive season with a German twist?

While I'm not Christian myself, I don't miss any baking opportunity. Christmas time is a bit like Achoura time in Morocco, where people buy gifts and bake. However, in Achoura, children get the gifts (toys, clothes, money...) while the grown up enjoy differently..


In Germany, Christmas season is big deal. Stollens were already on the supermarket's shelves as early as September. They're the people behind the Christmas tree and the Christmas market, did you know that? So of course all this comes with an array of biscuits and cookies..

The area where we lived is not far from Alsace, hence the similarities in the food (among other things), and while I've already posted a vanilla kipferln recipe a while ago from my favourite Pastry Chef (Christophe Felder) who is Alsatian, today I'll be posting a German recipe of the same thing but there is a reason (or 3) to that:

1- This sort of shortbread dough has eggs in it while Felder's does not.
2- I'll be declining it into other forms of biscuits (posts will follow).
3- I've used Felder's trick: it's about blending the vanilla pod and the sugar in a food processor then using the sugar into the recipe. This seriously lifts up the whole thing and makes of the vanilla kipferln THE perfect biscuit!



Ingredients
Adapted from "Backen für Weihnachten"
Makes 70  vanilla kipferln
Prep: 1 hour- baking: 12 min

  • 140g butter
  • 100g ground almonds (toasted in a hot oven at 160 degrees C for 8 min or so then cooled)
  • 200g of flour
  • 100 g of sugar (fine caster sugar)
  • 2 eggs yolks
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • A pinch of salt
Decoration
  • 2 tbps of caster sugar 
  • 4 heaped tbps of icing sugar

Preparation

Preheat oven to 170 ° C.
 

Open the vanilla pod in length. Make a vanilla sugar by blending the sugar (including the caster sugar for the decoration) and the pod, no scraping needed. Sift the sugar into a container (do not discard the vanilla bits, use them in a custard). Keep 2 tbps on the side for the decoration.
 

Cream the sugar and the butter. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix together to homogenize the dough. 

Form a ball and they split it into 4 parts.

On a floured work surface, made long sausages of 1.5 cm thick. Cut into pieces of 4 cm long.



Shape into crescents and place them on a baking sheet, covered with parchment paper.
 

Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden from the corners.

Let the biscuits cool for a couple of minutes  then generously sprinkle them with the mixture of sugars. Do it twice or 3 times to make sure you get a proper coating.



Keep the biscuits in a metallic box, it gets the better in the next days because the vanilla does its work..


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