I was very excited to be asked by the Central England Co-op to take part in their Christmas recipes campaign. Not only did it inspire me to try out a new recipe, it has made me start to feel very festive and look forward to all of the lovely food we can justify indulging in at Christmas!
I decided to make Vanillekipferl as they are a traditional European Christmas treat, popular in Austria, Germany, Hungary and other countries across the continent. They also look Christmassy as the icing sugar is reminiscent of fresh powdery snow. They’re very pretty when packaged up as homemade Christmas gifts and encompass festive flavours of vanilla, sugar, and almonds. What’s not to love?
You will need:
210g plain flour
80g ground almonds
140g icing sugar
One whole egg
What to do:
The day before you want to bake your biscuits, make your vanilla sugar which will be used for dusting the Vanillekipferl. Put 60g of the icing sugar into an airtight container. Use a small sharp knife to cut open the vanilla pod and scrape out the sticky seeds from inside. Stir these into the icing sugar. Also add the now empty pods (to enhance the flavour) then close the lid ensuring it is airtight.
To make your biscuits add the flour, ground almonds and remaining 80g of icing sugar into a large bowl. Then chop the butter into cubes and add this into the flour mixture, along with the whole egg. Rinse your hands under cold water and dry them, and then using your (now cold) hands, mix the ingredients together to create a firm dough.
Cover the bowl with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour. At the same time, pre-heat your oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas mark 3.
When your dough is chilled, roll it out into a long sausage shape, about the size of your thumb. Cut this into pieces approx. 1 inch long, then bend them into a crescent-moon shape (a bit like a wotsit!). Arrange these on a greased baking tray.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown. Leave them to cool for a few minutes, then while still warm (but cool enough to touch) roll them in the pre-made vanilla sugar (you can take the pods out of the sugar now if they are getting in the way).
If you wanted to give these as homemade gifts or stocking fillers, put 8-10 of your Vanillekipferl into a cellophane bag and seal with festive ribbon or a gift tag.
To explore plenty more yummy Christmas recipes and find your local Central England Co-operative, check out the Co-op’s dedicated Christmas website.