Inspired by traditional German vanillekipferl, these almond crescent cookies are a full of rich almond flavor and topped with a heavy dusting of confectioner’s sugar. They’re one of my favorite Christmas cookies because they’re so easy to make, and this recipe is completely vegan and dairy free.
- 1 cup vegetable shortening, or vegan butter
- ½ cup (100 grams) sugar
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon pure almond extract, to taste
- 1¾ cups (238 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1⅓ cups (133 grams) almond flour
- Powdered sugar, for coating
- Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer , beat the butter, sugar and salt together on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and the almond extract, if you’re using it, then scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the machine off, add the all-purpose flour all at once and then pulse the mixer to start blending. Mix on low speed until the flour is almost incorporated, then add the almond flour and mix only until it disappears into the mixture and the dough comes together.
- Using a medium cookie scoop , scoop out walnut-size nuggets of dough or use a tablespoon. Work each piece into a compact ball between your palms and then roll it on the counter into a rope about 4 inches long. Bend the rope into a crescent, pinch the ends lightly and place on the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between the crescents.
- Bake for 19 to 21 minutes, rotating the sheets top to bottom and front to back after 10 minutes, or until the cookies are golden at their tips, pale everywhere else and set, but too fragile to lift without breaking. Transfer the baking sheets to racks and let the cookies rest for 5 minutes before you give them the sugar treatment.
- Put the sugar in a small bowl and, one by one, dredge the cookies in sugar to coat and place on racks to cool.
The dough can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months. If you decide to freeze the dough, I think you’ll find it more convenient to shape it first and freeze the crescents; let the crescents come to cool room temperature before baking them. If you omit the sugar coating, the baked cookies can be wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months. The baked cookies will keep for about 3 days; give them a fresh dusting of confectioners’ sugar before serving.