August 07, 2010

Vanilla Kipferl and why I do not post step by step pictures

Yesterday it was a very hard day at work. I usually don't work on Friday morning these days but I had to sub for a sick teacher. That in itself put me in a sad mood because I had planned to make some delicious rolls but I knew I was not going to have enough time to make them once back from work. On top of it, as I said, it was a hard day with a very hard group to keep. I got home exhausted! And I needed something to cheer myself up. It was then that I remembered one of the last post of Chef Dennis who suggested to bake cookies when you are having a bad day. That post saved my day! 
I pulled out this recipe for several reasons. First of all, I wanted cookies too! I NEEDED cookies! Second, I love traditional recipes and the Kipferl recipe is indeed very traditional. Kipferl cookies are a typical Christmas treat in Austria. If you happen to be there during the holidays, you cannot escape them! And you shouldn't. Finally, I love simple recipes and this is definitely a simple one. Very few, basic ingredients and a very quick method (except for the 2 hours in the fridge but you really do not have any complicated or time consuming step involved). You can even leave the dough for a day or two if you don't have time to shape them and bake them that day...but that also takes very little time. I made these cookies once with an adorable kid I was doing Italian/baking classes with. It's a very kid-friendly recipe and kids have a lot of fun shaping these cookies.

Before leaving you with the recipe, I also wanted to mention one more thing. I really would love to start posting step by step pictures. I love when other bloggers include them. I always find them very useful. However, I have several constraints to that. Of all the constraints, today I just want to mention one that I already talked about in my post about the Versatile Blog Award: my three kitties. My three kitties are adorable creatures...I really love them...I treat them like  human beings and I talk to them as I talk to kids...However, contrary to kids, they have a lot of hair...and they seem to love dropping it off everywhere. My tiny kitchen, in particular, is the place where the love to hang out the most. I'm always obsessed with making sure all the hair is gone before I start to bake. Nevertheless, they love to keep  mommy company while she other words...they are always there, ready to catch anything that might accidentally fall off the counter. 

Here is the proof!

This is my girl, Zoe (aka Space Cat!), on the stool next to the counter, ready to "help" mommy! (yeah, right!)

This is our big boy, Mischa, underneath the stool where Zoe is, trying to catch whatever falls (he does not want mommy to waste too much time vacuuming). His big belly speaks the truth!

And this is our baby boy, Perci. He is more sneaky....he pretends to help mommy setting up the picture scene (see the tripod and how is checking out whether the light is good?!) but he just wants to eat the real finished good.

Needless to say I cannot leave my goodies unattended while I set up my camera or I would not have anything to blog about :(  I will have to wait to move to a home with a real kitchen before realizing my dream of having step by step pictures.
So by now I can just leave you my recipe and final product :) Enjoy!

Vanilla Kipferl

100 gr amonds, ground
250 gr all purpose flour
150 gr butter
100 gr sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
confectioner sugar to decorate

In a large bowl, combine the ground almonds and the flour

Cut in the butter and mix in with your hands.

Add the egg, the vanilla, and the sugar and work the mixture with your hands until you obtain a homogeneous dough

Shape the dough into a rectangle, about 1 inch thick and place it in the refrigerator for about two hours.

After two hours, take the dough out of the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking tray with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into several parts. Make rolls that are approximately 1 inch thick. Cut the rolls into 1 inch pieces, and bend the pieces into the shape of a semicircle ( just like a croissant...or a boomerang as Wally called them!).

Bake for about 15 minutes (depending on the oven; I left them for about 20 minutes) until golden.

While still warm sprinkle the kipferl with confectioners' sugar and let them cool down.

Suggestions for chocolate lovers
If you make these cookies during the winter, match them with a cup of hot chocolate and you will have the perfect afternoon treat. 
If you want to give a twist to the original recipe you can try to add some chocolate powder to the dough or you can dip the tips of the cookies into melted chocolate.

Have a sweet day!


  1. Kids are always super crazy on Fridays. I'm a teacher too and always need a good cookie or dessert with a glass of wine at the end of the week! These look like just the thing!

  2. You are so right Sarah! There must be something going on in their body on Friday...maybe they get sugar-deprived and the don't function as always....or maybe we get sugar-deprived and we can't do that anymore! The last hour always seems infinite! These cookies were great also because I really did not have the strength to bake something complex!

  3. These look good. I am envisioning turning them into "worms" for kids parties or letting kids decorate them!

  4. Oh totally! The kid I made them with had a lot of fun with can do everything with hands and the texture is good for icing and food coloring pens. She sprinkled some colorful sugar sprinkles before putting them in the oven!

  5. I had to giggle..for every food picture I take, I have one of my toddler saying "Take a picture of me!". No way can I do step by step pictures right now. The cookies look delicious and your kitties are cute!

  6. I love these type of cookies! Simple, yet flavorful. Adorable kitties... I have to watch my two Maltese "helpers" when I'm photographing too.

  7. @Tara: my deepest admiration to you for even being able to keep a blog with 5 kids! I complain about a husband and 3 kitties but you are a super woman!
    @Kim: I hope you are succeeding better than I am in keeping your helpers in good shape! My kitties lost sooooo much weight while my husband and I were in Italy for the holidays but they gained it all back after one week of my baking :)

  8. These look wonderful! I've never made them before but can imagine the sandy crunchy texture which I like. Looking forward to your posts in future.

  9. Thanks Jen! I'm always looking forward to read your posts! And good luck with your finals! If you make that cake again, send me a virtual piece:)

  10. Oh YUM!! Annd you have such lovely cats. I don't do step by step photos too. My hands are too pre-occupied!

  11. i love your post about why you can't do step by step photos! i have 2 kids to your 3 kitties, so i know what it's like!

    also, i noticed you mentioned you already received the versatile blogger award... but i'd like you to know i would have passed it on to you anyway! follow this link!

  12. I used to make these lovely kipferls too, but the last time was probably a decade ago! I must bake these again with the kiddies, which means also no step-by-step photos!

  13. p.s. I LOVE the new site design!

    hugs! Kim

  14. @Penny: that's another great way to put it! Above all if I'm making yeast goods
    @Pat: you are one of those amazing women that can handle kids and cats...I should just stop complaining in front of you! Thank you very much for passing the award on me's a big honor! I loved reading more about you!
    @SubterfugeDiva: maybe we should start a new trend against the step by step pictures...after all, aren't we all happier with all these little creatures around us? whether it's pets or kids (or even husbands! you should see how the disasters he makes when he is around in the kitchen
    @Kim: thanks! I really love the idea that all you guys like it. Hugs!

  15. I have never had kipferl before, but it definitely sounds like something I would enjoy! Thanks for sharing, and your kitties are too cute (even it they do encroach on your cooking space!). :)

  16. @The Cilantropist: I guess this is a good way to practice my baking skills....when I will have a decent kitchen and a door to leave the kitties out I will be baking something even more yummy! Definitely give a try to these cookies :)

  17. I was completely drawn to this post by how cute the cookies look all boomerang like. They sound really good too--almond meal, yum. As for pets, I understand. My dog likes to hangout by my feet while I cook just waiting for something to hit the floor. Or for me to walk away. Plus she has long, white hair that gets everywhere and I have to be very vigilant about keeping it out of my food. Needless to say I have had to edit hairs out photos before posting them.

  18. I made cookies on my bad day too! Doesn't it just make everything better?? These look great- I just use a point and shoot camera so I don't do much setting up when I take my step by step photos and I can't imagine how much more difficult it would be with kittens around!

  19. @Baking Barrister: yeah...let's not even think about pic editing, apron and napkins constantly being washed etc otherwise we will stop baking and then we will become unhappy people :)
    @Evan: I now have a good camera and still don't do much set up :) one day I should show you guys the ridiculous photos set up i created myself

  20. Oh, I can just about smell these cookies. My mom makes a cookie called Kurabia that's Armenian and is very similar to this. It's in an S shape though, no the crescent. You've made me miss them! Actually, going in the kitchen and making ANYTHING when I'm having a bad day helps! :)

  21. Semplici e buoni questi biscottini!
    Fai una coccola da parte mia ai tuoi tre bellissimi "assistenti"!

  22. Thank you so much for mentioning me and for a wonderful cookie recipe...I have never made those before, but they really look delicious! I am going to have to make these the next time I am feeling blue....sigh.....cookies do tend to lift your spirit, even if you don't eat many of them, giving them to others just seems to cheer everyone up! I totally understand about your cats! We have two bernese mountain dogs.
    Thanks for another great post!

  23. @Christiane: I will have to try find out the recipe for Kurabia then....I love foreign countries' recipe
    @Runners Fuel: thank you! They are (oppsss were!)
    @lo81: sono appena tornata a casa dal momento in cui i miei mici mi chiedono piu' coccole...ora me li strapazzo un po'..e pensare che una volta odiavo i gatti!
    @Chef Dennis: you are welcome! And you are right..the main reason why I love baking is because I think it's an act of love and even just giving them away (as I often do) makes you feel better

  24. These cookies look amazing! I agree that making cookies help to increase our moods and make us happy. Even more is actually eating them. Nice job!

  25. Beautiful pics! I always want to do step by step pictures too, but it's hard for me because I don't have time to set every step up to look nice. I totally understand why you wouldn't with all those kitties around!

    Also, I have to say that I love that you took Chef Dennis' advice. When I read his post, I told myself I'd have to do that next time I'm feeling down too.

  26. Thank you Stephanie and Lisa!
    @Stephanie: I love when another food blogger reminds me very simple yet important things and I always like their advice. That's why I try to read you all guys as much as I can!

  27. Cookies make everybody's mood brighter. :) These look wonderful. I'm a teacher too (2nd gr.) and I can totally relate to Friday syndrome. We don't start for another couple of weeks so I'm squeezing as much summer in as I can! Love your blog- I've signed up to follow. Thanks!

  28. @Scrambledhenfruit: (what a cool name for a blog!) thanks for stopping by and welcome to CaffeIna! I'm glad to meet another food blogger and another teacher! Lucky you, you have other 2 weeks of summer....I'll go from summer school directly into the new year with all the crying of transition time! Btw, your blog is lovely and what a coincidence that the latest post was about lemon and white chocolate favorite combo of flavors! Bookmarked for my next crazy Friday :)


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