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domingo, 1 de marzo de 2020

Austrian vanilla biscuits

If you have the opportunity to visit Vienna, and in general Austria, you will realize that the pastry shops invade the streets to the point that the premises  are set door to door. In Vienna, cakes such as the Sachertorte or the croissants themselves - which are Austrian, not French - were invented, whose half-moon shape was made on purpose to make fun of the Turks after their defeat in front of the city walls in the second siege of the city ​​that occurred in the seventeenth century. Austrian pastry has greatly influenced European pastry and even in the Middle East, since Ashkenazi (Central European) Jews took Viennese recipes to Israel where they coexist with Arab pastries in total harmony through the "Viennese pastry shops".

One of the most popular Austrian cookies is the unpronounceable vanillekipferl, a name that comes to mean "half moon vanilla" because they have a shape reminiscent of the crescent moon, like croissants, although they don't look anything like croissant except for the shape. They are typical of Austrian Christmas but nowadays it is easy to find them throughout the year. They are very easy to make and last a long time - up to 3 weeks - so you can have vanilla cookies (with this recipe about 50) during a good season and feel as if you were in a Viennese cafe.


280 grams (10 oz) of wheat flour for pastries
200 grams (7 oz) of butter
100 grams (3.5 oz) of raw ground almonds without skin
80 grams (2.8 oz) of granulated white sugar (the usual one)
50 grams (1.7 oz) of glass sugar (impalpable)
20 grams (0.7 oz) of vanilla sugar
2 egg yolks
1 vanilla pod
1 pinch of salt

Cut the sheath lengthwise and scrape the pulp. We mix it with the ground almonds, flour,  egg yolks, cold butter (this is important, no matter how annoying it is to work hard butter) and the pinch of salt. If you have a kneading machine, a kitchen robot or similar, it is time to use it. If not, the dough should be worked manually until the butter is integrated.

Once we have a homogeneous and smooth dough we put it in a bowl covering it with a transparent film so that it rests for at least 1 hour.

We separate parts of the dough and make cylinders approximately 1.5 cm (0.6 inches) thick. We cut them every 5 centimeters (2 inches) to make the cookies. These small cylinders should be curved inwards to give them the shape of a crescent. Work this on a flour-covered surface.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (356 F)  and bake the cookies for one 12 minutes or until we see them golden brown.

We extract and leave on a rack, sprinkling over 50 grams (1.7 oz)  of glass sugar mixed with vanilla sugar. It should be done when they are still hot.

They are allowed to cool and ready to eat. They are so good that if you like vanilla you can not stop eating one after another.

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