Gluten Free Vanillekipferl (Austrian/German Vanilla Crescent Cookies)

No Christmas is complete without these truly amazing gluten free vanillekipferl. They’re wonderfully buttery with a crumbly melt-in-the mouth texture, packed full of vanilla and almond flavours, and generously covered in powdered sugar. They’re incredibly easy to make and you couldn’t possibly guess they’re gluten free!

Powder-sugar-covered vanillekipferl on a lined baking sheet.

Today’s offering are one of my all-time favourite cookies: vanillekipferl, also known as vanilla crescent cookies. They’re perfectly buttery with a melt-in-the-mouth crumbly texture, packed full of the most wonderful almond and vanilla flavours, and covered in a fluffy coat of powdered sugar. They’re also super quick and easy to make.

Opinions are divided as to where these cookies originated, with the main contestants being Austria and Germany. But regardless of their origins, these delicious cookies simply demand a place in your Christmas cookie repertoire.

And here’s a top tip for you: gluten free vanillekipferl get even better the longer you keep them in a closed container. So, make a large batch and hide part of them away for at least one week. I know, I’m terribly cruel to even suggest such a thing – but trust me, you’ll be thanking me later.

Following on from the truly amazing (if I do say so myself) gluten free cinnamon shortbread cookie and gluten free molasses cookie recipes, these vanillekipferl are also gluten free. Not that you could possibly guess it! In fact, using gluten free flour makes them even more delicate and delicious.

So, without further ado: let’s make cookies!

A hand holding a vanillekipferl, covered in powdered sugar.

A hand holding a vanillekipferl that has been broken in half.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making these wonderful cookies – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

How do you make gluten free vanillekipferl?

Making gluten free vanillekipferl truly couldn’t be easier:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour blend, ground almonds, caster/superfine sugar, xanthan gum and salt until combined.
  2. Add the softened butter and vanilla, and knead everything together until you get a smooth, uniform dough. The dough shouldn’t be crumbly or sticky to the touch. Instead, you should be able to take a portion and shape it into a ball, without any cracking, crumbling or sticking.
  3. Shape about 24g (1 1/2 tablespoons) of cookie dough into a ball, then roll it out into a small log or cylinder approximately 10cm (4 inches) in length. Each small log/cylinder should be thinner at the ends and thicker in the centre.
  4. Bend each small log/cylinder into a crescent shape and transfer it to a lined baking sheet. Make sure to space them out slightly, as they do spread out a bit during baking.
  5. And then: bake! Perfectly baked cookies should be of a very pale golden colour on top with the tips of the crescents of a slightly darker golden brown. Don’t worry if they have small cracks on their surface after baking (it’s rather inevitable when using gluten free flour to make them) – they will all get covered up with powdered/icing sugar anyway!

The process of shaping gluten free vanillekiperl.

Gluten free vanillekipferl after baking on a lined baking sheet.

Once perfectly baked, allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes until warm (this gives them time to firm up, as they are very soft and crumbly immediately out of the oven), and then roll them in some powdered/icing sugar.

The process of rolling vanillekipferl in powdered sugar.

A hand holding a powdered-sugar-covered vanillekipferl.

Tips & tricks for making PERFECT gluten free vanillekipferl

Here are a couple of things you should keep in mind when making these gluten free vanilla crescent cookies:

  • It’s important that you use ground un-blanched almonds rather than almond flour, which is typically made from blanched almonds that had their skins removed. Un-blanched, skin-on almonds carry much more flavour and will result in far more delicious cookies.
  • Don’t be tempted to cream the butter and sugar together when making the cookie dough (like you might do for other recipes). Doing so here would introduce air pockets into the dough, which will expand during baking and make the cookies too crumbly and delicate. Instead, just pop all the ingredients into a bowl and knead them together into a smooth dough.
  • Immediately out of the oven, the cookies will be VERY soft and fragile. As they cool down, they will firm up and set, so you can easily handle them. So, unlike with wheat-based vanillekipferl, don’t try to roll them in powdered/icing sugar when they’re still hot – if you do, they will crumble away to nothing. Instead, allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes until warm, at which point you should be able to easily pick them up and cover them with powdered/icing sugar.
  • Because these aren’t super crisp or sturdy cookies, it’s important you know how to hold and handle them so as to minimise the chances of breaking when they’re still warm. It’s best to hold them at the thickest part in the middle, where the cookie is at its sturdiest. Like so:

The process of rolling vanillekipferl in powdered sugar.

There you have it, friends – everything you need to know to make THE BEST gluten free vanillekipferl. If I had to choose just one Christmas cookie to enjoy this holiday season, this would be it.

For all their simplicity and lack of flashy flavours, there’s something incredibly comforting and decadent about these cookies. From their soft, fluffy coat of powdered sugar to their buttery, crumbly texture and the delicious mingling of vanilla and almond flavours… I simply can’t get enough of them.

I hope you’ll love them as much as I do.

Happy baking!

Signature of the author, Kat.

Powder-sugar-covered vanillekipferl on a lined baking sheet.

If you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

Gluten Free Vanillekipferl (Austrian/German Vanilla Crescent Cookies)

No Christmas is complete without these truly amazing gluten free vanillekipferl. They’re wonderfully buttery with a crumbly melt-in-the mouth texture, packed full of vanilla and almond flavours, and generously covered in powdered sugar. They’re incredibly easy to make and you couldn’t possibly guess they’re gluten free!

Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten Free
Prep Time 30 minutes
Bake/Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes
Servings 42 cookies

Ingredients

  • 400 g (3 ⅓ cups) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour blend, which doesn't contain added xanthan gum. You can also mix your own blend with 50% finely ground white rice flour, 30% potato starch and 20% maize flour by weight.)
  • 250 g (2 ½ cups) finely ground almonds (Ideally, grind the almonds yourself in a blender or food processor – make sure you use un-blanched, skin-on almonds.)
  • 125 g (½ cup + ⅛ cup) caster/superfine sugar
  • 1 ¼ tsp xanthan gum (Omit if your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum.)
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 250 g (2 sticks + 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • ~120 g (~1 cup) powdered/icing sugar, for rolling the cookies

Instructions

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line a large baking sheet with baking/greaseproof paper.

    Tip: You will bake the cookies in several batches, so you can line 2-3 baking sheets if you have them on hand. Otherwise, just re-use the same baking sheet, but make sure to cool it completely before you place the next batch of unbaked cookies onto it.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour blend, ground almonds, caster/superfine sugar, xanthan gum and salt until combined.

  3. Add the softened butter and vanilla, and knead everything together until you get a smooth, uniform cookie dough. The final dough shouldn’t be crumbly or sticky to the touch. Instead, you should be able to take a portion and shape it into a ball, without any cracking, crumbling or sticking.

    Tip: Don’t be tempted to cream the butter and sugar together before adding the rest of the ingredients when making the cookie dough (like you might do for other recipes). Doing so here would introduce air pockets into the dough, which will expand during baking and make the cookies too crumbly and delicate. Instead, just knead all the ingredients together into a smooth dough.

  4. Shape about 24g (1 ½ tablespoons) of cookie dough into a ball, then roll it out into a small log or cylinder approximately 10cm (4 inches) in length. Each small log/cylinder should be thinner at the ends and thicker in the centre.

    Tip: You can make smaller cookies, but you will need to shorten the baking time slightly in that case. Always look at the colour of the cookies (as described in step 6) – that's the best indicator for when they are perfectly baked.

  5. Bend each small log/cylinder into crescent shape and transfer it to a lined baking sheet, at least 2.5cm (1 inch) apart, as they do spread out a bit during baking.

  6. Bake at 350ºC (180ºC) for 12-14 minutes. Perfectly baked cookies should be of a very pale golden colour on top with the tips of the crescents of a slightly darker golden brown.

    Tip: Don’t worry if they have small cracks on their surface (it’s rather inevitable when using gluten free flour to make them) – they will all get covered up with powdered/icing sugar anyway!

  7. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes until warm before gently and carefully rolling them in powdered/icing sugar.

    Tip: Immediately out of the oven, the cookies will be VERY soft and fragile. As they cool down, they will firm up, so you can easily handle them. So, unlike with wheat-based vanillekipferl, don’t try to roll them in powdered/icing sugar when they’re still hot – if you do, they will crumble away to nothing. Instead, allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes, at which point you should be able to easily pick them up and cover them with powdered/icing sugar.

  8. Storage: The gluten free vanillekipferl keep well in a closed container in a cool dry place for about 3 weeks. In fact they get even more delicious after about 1 week.

Pinterest image for gluten free vanillekipferl. Pinterest image for gluten free vanillekipferl. Pinterest image for gluten free vanillekipferl.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

2 thoughts on “Gluten Free Vanillekipferl (Austrian/German Vanilla Crescent Cookies)”