There does come a time in the middle of the festive season when you’ve had too much. Too much sugar, too much chocolate, too much candied peel/ginger/dates…you prefer something simple. And that’s where these little biscuits come in, which are shaped into crescents and covered in icing sugar for a festive snow-like effect.
Kipferl are traditional Austrian and Hungarian Christmas biscuits, which are usually made with vanilla, and are a little bit like shortbread that has been enriched with nuts. However, I wanted something that was a little bit different, and decided to go for cardamom. This is one of my favourite spices, and it provides a fresh, zesty flavour and aroma. I added a whole teaspoon of the stuff, but go with what you like (probably less!). I think the result is great – rather unusual, but they go very well with coffee, ideally strong and black (Turkish style or espresso).
If you’re minded to try making these, I can share a little tale. You need to chill the dough, and then be careful when shaping it. The dough is not particularly delicate, but if it gets too warm, the dough will get oily and be difficult to shape into crescents. So don’t skip chilling the dough in the fridge!
There are also a couple of options with these Kipferl. I’ve used cardamom, but they would be equally nice with cinnamon or nutmeg, or mixed spices. You can also vary the nuts. I used pistachios to lend them a pale green colour, but you could opt for almonds, walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts. Whatever you do, I’m sure they will be echt lecker (as the might say in old Vienna).
To make Kardamomkipferl (makes 20-25):
• 70g icing sugar
• 110g unsalted butter
• 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 70g pistachios or almonds, finely ground
• 150g plain flour
• lots of extra icing sugar to dust
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
2. In a bowl, beat the icing sugar, butter and cardamom until smooth. Add the nuts and the flour and mix well. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
3. Roll the dough into a long sausage and cut into 20-25 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then form into a small sausage shape (thinner at the ends, fatter in the middle). Place on the baking sheet and shape into a crescent.
4. Bake for around 12 minutes (turn half way) until the cookies are lightly golden. Remove from the oven, and use a sieve to dust immediately with icing sugar. Leave to cool. Re-dust just before serving, if needed.
Worth making? I love these! Very easy to make, and the flavour of the cardamom is sweet and delicious.