The vanille kipferl originated in Austria, and they are also very popular in Switzerland and Germany. The crescent shape is said to be used in European Christmas baking to represent the Ottoman Empire, which laid siege to Vienna in 1529 AD but was repelled by ordinary citizens. The battle marked the beginning of the decline of the Ottomans.
If desired, the two ends of the kipferl can be dipped in warm chocolate and then left to cool.
Use can also use walnuts in place of almonds.
Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescents)
2 cups plain flour
1 3/4 cups ground almonds (or walnuts)
1 cup icing sugar, plus more for dusting
Seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoons almond essence (optional, for extra almond boost)
Heat oven to 160*C.
Combine flour and salt. Rub or process in butter. Mix in almond meal, sugar, vanilla seeds, vanilla and almond essence and egg and knead until smooth.
Divide dough into 4 portions, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 15 to rest.
Remove from fridge and roll each dough portion into a log about 2cm thick. Cut off 2cm pieces and shape piece into a crescent. Place on prepared tray and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Bake crescents for 20 minutes.
Once cool enough to handle, roll biscuits in icing or vanilla sugar*.
Place 1 1/2 to 2 cups of sugar and place in pint jar. Put a clean vanilla bean in the jar, cover and shake well. Let stand for a few days, shaking the jar occasionally, before using the sugar. As you use the sugar, replace with fresh sugar.