Vanilla Crescent Cookies: A European Winter Classic

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Each country has its own specific sweet treats around Christmastime.

In Europe – especially in Germany and Austria – vanilla crescents are one of the most traditional varieties.

The kids are clamoring for holiday cookies. Mix up a batch of Vanilla Crescents, and get them to help! We share the recipe:

Also known as kipferl, not only do they carry a wonderful note of vanilla, they also look really nice with their curved shape.

To achieve this look that’s reminiscent of a crescent moon, just a little practice is needed. The dough is cut into thumb-sized pieces and then rolled into the special shape.

It's cookie baking season! Try our recipe for Vanilla Crescent Cookies:

Once you get the hang of it, this will be no problem!

Kipferl molds like this one are also available on Amazon, if you’re looking for a little extra help with the shaping.

Lurch Vanilla Kipferl Mold, 17 x 30 cm

To make things easier for beginners (or to make things more uniform for the perfectionists among us) there are special cookie cutters and molds available that help to keep the dough in perfect position.

Buttery homemade vanilla crescent cookies are a sweet holiday treat that your friends and neighbors are going to love! Make a batch today:

For all made-from-scratch shaped-by-hand bakers, here’s a tip for anyone who has problems with the shaping process: Add an egg yolk to the dough. This will make the dough less crumbly and the shaping easier, though the cookies will be a little less tender.

Buttery vanilla crescent cookies are the perfect addition to any holiday dessert platter. Get the recipe:

This is also a great idea if you’re planning to give these as gifts and package them in small sachets or boxes – this way, they won’t break apart so easily.

Traditionally, crescent cookies are made with ground hazelnuts or almonds. But if you or anyone you know is allergic to nuts, feel free to replace the ground nuts with regular flour.

Vanilla crescent cookies are light, sweet, and buttery. Get the recipe:

If you want to make yours the classic way, dust the cookies with powdered sugar after cooling. Or if you want to get a bit more creative, a dip in chocolate coating or some lemon icing would be perfect choices as well.

The Best Vanilla Crescent Cookies |

And just in case you’re looking for another idea for how to adjust these treats to your preference…

Why not replace the vanilla with cinnamon, and add some orange zest for another wintertime twist?

The Recipe

Make Vanilla Crescent Cookies |
Vanilla Crescent Cookies
Votes: 3
Rating: 4.67
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
55 cookies
55 cookies
Make Vanilla Crescent Cookies |
Vanilla Crescent Cookies
Votes: 3
Rating: 4.67
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
55 cookies
55 cookies
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 10 oz flour or 1 1/4 cups
  • 3 1/2 oz ground almonds or 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons
  • 3 oz granulated Sugar or 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
  • 7 oz cold butter or 1 3/4 sticks cubed
  • 3 1/2 oz Powdered sugar or 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons
Servings: cookies
  1. Cut the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape out the pulp.
  2. Combine the pulp with the flour, ground almonds, sugar and butter, and knead to form a dough. Wrap and keep in the fridge for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  4. Halve the dough for easier handling, and roll out each half into a long snake, about 1 2/3" in diameter.
  5. Cut into 1/2" thick segments. Form each piece into a crescent and place on the baking tray.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until they have a golden-yellow color.
  7. Cool completely, then dust with a nice layer of powdered sugar.


Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Mix and Knead the Dough

Scrape out the vanilla pulp from the bean, and cut the cold butter into cubes. Or, chill the butter and then grate it, using the coarse side of a box grater.

Santa is going to be so excited about these homemade Vanilla Crescent Cookies! Get the recipe:

Reserve the bean for another use, like making vanilla sugar or syrup.

In a large bowl, combine the pulp with the flour, ground almonds, sugar and butter. Knead to form a dough. Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

We heard Vanilla Crescent Cookies are one of Santa's favorites - and we have the recipe:

Step 2 – Form the Crescents

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking trays with parchment paper.

For easier handling, halve the dough, and roll out each half into a snake about 1 2/3 inches in diameter. Cut into slices about ½ inch thick.

Hand-shaped Vanilla Crescent Cookies are easy to make, and oh-so-buttery and delicious. We share the recipe:

Form each piece into a small crescent, and place on the baking tray.

Step 3 – Bake and Dust

Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden.

Leave to cool on a rack, then dust with a nice layer of powdered sugar.

Crescent Cookies |

Bring the Scent of Holiday Baking to Your Kitchen

When these little treats make their way to the assorted cookie platter this holiday season, there is no holding back.

With their powdery coating and curvy look, they will surely be among your new favorites. Their crumbly texture and the delicate vanilla flavor are probably the two most convincing aspects as to why you should definitely try them out at home.

Vanilla crescent cookies, or vanille kipferl, are a delicious seasonal treat that's simple to make, and perfect with a glass of milk. Leave some of these out for Santa, and you're sure to make the nice list! Get the recipe:

Aiming for a more typical cookie treat? Give our classic sugar cookie cutout recipe a try. Or, try other European-inspired recipes, like my Amerikaner cookie cakesblack and white cookies or soft, tender snowflakes. Perfect for the holidays!

Want to go gluten-free? Try these soft, chewy ginger cookies (sans the gluten) too.

But to be honest, who needs to be convinced when it comes to cookie baking?

Let us know how the crescents turned out for you, and whether you (or your family) could resist these sweet treats!

Make sure to take a gander at our Christmas inspired food ideas, cookie recipes, and desserts now!

Don’t forget to Pin It!

Enjoy a classic cookie variety from Europe. These wonderful delights will seduce you with a warm vanilla note, subtle nutty flavor, and a nice crescent shape. Time to preheat the oven and get the recipe now on Foodal!

Photos by Nina-Kristin Isensee, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.

About Nina-Kristin Isensee

Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.

2 thoughts on “Vanilla Crescent Cookies: A European Winter Classic”

  1. This recipe was handed down to me from my Mom. The only thing different is that we coat the cookies in vanilla sugar instead of powdered sugar. They are AWESOME !!! I get many requests every Christmas to make these cookies. You may want to try this version yourself. You won’t be disappointed!


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