German Christmas Cookies: Vanillekipferl and Schneeflöckchen
I loved Christmas as a kid. We did not have a lot of money but my mom always made this time of year very special, and growing up in Germany added a bit of extra magic, too. One of my most treasued memories is baking Christmas cookies, the smell alone makes me feel all happy and cozy. My mom filled tin after tin with delicious festive treats and I remember climbing on top of the kitchen table so to reach the upper cupbords where she stored them and sneaking a few cookies every night, because of course we were not allowed to eat them all at once!
Thankfully she emailed me the recipes for my two favorite cookies quite a few years before she passed away and I’ve been making them every year since.
This year I counted out the calories for the first time ever! They come in between 90-105 cals per cookie. Oh my. It is no wonder that I used to put on so much weight over Christmas, I could easily inhale more than 20 of these every day! As I mentioned in my previous post Christmas is not the easiest time of year to go on a diet but I knew I didn’t want to wait until January. Maybe it’s also because this is not just a diet, Intuitive Dieting is rather a program and way of life. And that means Christmas cookies are allowed because this is a special time of year! I am also allowing myself to go over my calorie limit for a few days and the funny thing is that I am not actually stuffing myself. My main goal is to enjoy what I am eating while listening to my body. Which last night meant that instead of cookies for desert I actually craved an apple! Go figure.
So here I am sharing the recipe with the world and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Wishing you all a wonderful and peaceful Christmas ⭐️
Vanillekipferl / Vanilla Crescent Cookies
200g (7oz) White All Purpose Flour
100g (3.5oz) Almond Flour
80g (2.8oz) White Sugar
175g (6.2oz) Unsalted Cold Butter
2 Egg Yolks
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Content from 1 Vanilla Bean
6 Packets Dr. Oethker Vanillin Sugar
Oven temp: 150C / 300F
Makes ca. 35 cookies
The dough is 3,150 calories so divide this number by however many pieces you end up with to calculate the individual amount.
Mix flour, sugar, butter, egg yolks, almond flour and vanilla bean content and knead until dough is smooth. This works better when the butter is cold. I use my Kitchenaid for this but you can do this by hand, too.
Form two long rolls, put on a plate or in a long deep casserole dish, cover with plastic wrap and put into fridge for about an hour. If you don’t have a plate for long rolls you can also make shorter rolls, three or four.
Take out of fridge and let soften a bit, about 10 minutes. Cut the rolls into ca. 40 slices and roll each slice into a crescent shape with pointed ends.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, add crescents and bake in preheated oven for 14-15 minutes.
Add the vanilla sugar to a bowl. If you cannot find the Dr. Oethker packets you can make your own by adding a couple of Vanilla beans to a bowl of sugar for 3-4 weeks. In a pinch plain sugar will work, too.
When the cookies are out of the oven take a spatula and give them a nudge to move them a bit. Let them sit for a minute or so and then carefully remove them from the baking sheet with the spatula, placing them into the vanilla sugar bowl and coating them on both sides. The sugar sticks best while the cookies are still warm but they are also very fragile in this state so handle with care. I always keep an extra plate for broken bits which is very popular with my husband!
Place the sugar covered cookies on a rack and let cool down.
Schneeflöckchen / Snowflakes
250g (8.8oz) Unsalted Cold Butter
100g (3.5oz) Confectioner’s Sugar
100g (3.5oz) White All Purpose Flour
250g (8.8oz) Corn Starch
1 Vanilla Bean
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Oven temp: 150C / 300F
Makes ca. 40 cookies
The dough is 3,490 calories so divide this number by however many pieces you end up with to calculate the individual amount.
Sift the powered sugar through a fine mesh strainer into a large mixing bowl and stir with butter and vanilla bean content until very soft and almost frothy. Cold butter works best for this. I do this in my Kitchenaid but any stand mixer will work great.
Get two more large bowls and combine flour and corn starch in one of them. Then use a big spoon to add mixture to the mesh strainer and sift into the second bowl. Once done take the spoon and slowly add the flour and cornstarch to the sugar/butter mix. I usually do this in my Kitchenaid and add spoonfuls of the sifted flour/cornstarch while the machine is running.
Form either 2 long rolls or 4 or 5 shorter ones. This part can be tricky as the dough tends to be crumbly. So make sure everything is mixed very thoroughly first. I usually make a ball and knead it with my hands for a while before placing it on the counter and forming a roll from it. I form the roll slowly by moving it back and forth while applying light pressure and tucking in the ends. If the rolls breaks apart start again. I find that once I’ve kneaded the ball and warmed it with my hands for a while it works better.
Place rolls into a long shallow bowl or large plate and out into fridge for at least an hour. I usually cover them with plastic wrap.
Take out of fridge and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Cut ca. 40 slices and make a ball from each slice. If the dough is crumbly I knead the ball in my hands for a little while before forming the ball.
Place ball onto a parchment covered cookie sheet and press it down lightly with a fork and remove fork carefully to leave the formed grooves intact, see photo.
Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. All the oven really does is dry out the cookies, we don’t want to bake them as such. The bottom of the cookies should be slightly browned, no more.
When done let cool down for a couple of minutes and then remove carefully using a spatula. These cookies can also be quite fragile while hot so take extra care while doing this. Place them onto a rack until cooled down.