Vanilla kippels

Vanilla kippels

Vanessa Levis

Vanilla kippels – or kipferls, as they are known in Germany and Austria – are usually made at Christmas. They can be made with different nuts, such as walnuts or almonds, although in Bavaria it is nearly always hazelnuts. Care should be taken to process the nuts to a meal without letting them become a paste. There should be little pieces of nut recognisable in the mixture. The vanilla taste is also important. Store the biscuits in a glass jar together with a piece of vanilla bean – they make a lovely gift when presented in this way and will keep for several weeks.


Quantity Ingredient
100g walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts
125g butter, softened
55g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
185g plain flour
A pinch salt
vanilla sugar or sifted icing sugar, to dust


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease baking trays or line them with baking paper.
  2. Using the pulse button, process the nuts in a food processor until finely chopped or coarsely ground.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar and vanilla until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Sift the flour with the salt and fold into the creamed mixture along with the ground nuts. Lightly mix to form a dough. If the mixture is too sticky, add a little more flour.
  5. Pinch off small pieces of dough and roll into walnut-sized balls. Roll each ball in the palm of your hand to form a small tube, then curve gently into a crescent. Arrange on the prepared baking trays.
  6. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until lightly coloured. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack over a sheet of baking paper.
  7. Dredge the kippels lightly with vanilla sugar or sifted icing sugar while they are still warm. Cool on wire racks and store in an airtight container.


  • In warmer weather the dough may be a little tricky to handle. In this case, knead lightly until smooth and then form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Vanilla sugar

  • Cut 2 vanilla beans into pieces and process in a food processor with 1 cup caster sugar until the beans are incorporated through the sugar, giving it an ashy look. If not using immediately, store in an airtight container; it will keep for many months.
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