While cooking, listen to this: Abi Gezunt - The Barry Sisters
So it's been a minute!
Okay fine, it's been a few minutes.
But we're back! Hi!
The last two months have been nothing short of bananas. I switched jobs in July, and then moved from my beloved Morningside Heights apartment to my new beloved Astoria apartment with a tall gingery musician. It's been a lot. All good things, like amazing beautiful things, but a lot, so our blog-child was relegated to the temporary backseat.
But no more! We're back and with a bang - cue the breakfast sandwich of champions we made last week.
My nana, my maternal grandmother, somewhat recently moved from Boca Raton to an assisted living facility 10 minutes from my parent's house (which is a whole other story). My sister and mom helped clean out her house and brought back some important family items, including a giant binder filled with old recipes. Index cards stained with sugar and oil, used countless times over the decades and generations. It is a TREASURE and I couldn't wait to dive in. My mom has been sending me recipes from the binder, and my hope is that this turns into a series of making some of them for the blog. Kipfel is our first!
Kipfel goes by a few names, depending on where in Eastern Europe its being consumed, but here we're going with kipfel - you could also say kipferl, because that's how they say it in Austria and these are technically Viennese, but at the end of the day it doesn't really matter what you call them because you can't call them anything when you're stuffing your face. And you will be stuffing your face because these are literally almond cookies ROLLED IN VANILLA SUGAR.
My family has a, hmm, well, I guess we'll say interesting connection to Austria, since I don't really know what else to call it. Very long, very sad story extremely, dishonorably short, my dad's dad was a Holocaust survivor and was saved by three Austrian hunters who found him in a literal hole and walked him directly to the Allies. It's an insane story. I am now choosing to spend my life with an Austrian man, so Austria is officially woven through the generations of my family. Is eating a sugar-vehicle in the form of a cookie the most appropriate way to honor that? Unclear! I'm doing it anyway.
These cookies are extremely easy to make, and all they need is an hour in the fridge before they're ready to get baked off. They're rolled in vanilla sugar right out of the oven, and then again once they've cooled. If you think you used enough sugar you are wrong, and need to use more. If you're afraid you used too much, no worries! There's literally no such thing. These are perfect with some tea or coffee, shared with friends or in front of your cat.
Ah. It's good to be back.
Love and meows, Rina
VIENNESE KIPFEL (ALMOND COOKIES)
Yield: about 2 dozen, depending on size
Active Cook Time: 20-25m | Fridge Time: 1h | Bake Time: 10-12m
Category: Sweet, Cookies
Source: Rina's nana's binder of recipes, but a similar one can be found here
Special Equipment: food processor/high-speed blender, baking trays, cooling rack
2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup ground, unblanched almonds/almond flour
½ cup sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 vanilla bean
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
Mix the dough: Add the flour, butter, ground almonds, ½ cup powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla and almond extracts in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix until fully incorporated and there are no dry bits left. Shape into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and chill for about 1 hour.
Make the vanilla sugar: with a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise down the center. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean, and cut the pod into 2-inch pieces. Combine the vanilla bean seeds and pod pieces with ¼ cup powdered sugar in a food processor bowl and blend on high for several seconds, or until no pod chunks remain. Combine with the remaining powdered sugar in a medium bowl, and set aside.
Bake the cookies: preheat the oven to 375 F. Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough and roll into a 3-inch-long rope (remember - I'm horrible with spatial reasoning so I'm the last to judge you if it isn't exactly 3 inches). Place on an ungreased baking sheet and carefully curve into a crescent shape. Repeat with the remaining dough, placing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown.
Roll the cookies, part 1: While the cookies are still warm, roll in the vanilla sugar, coating all sides. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Roll the cookies, part 2: Once the cookies have cooled completely, roll again in the vanilla sugar before serving immediately into your face.
To keep: the dough can be made a few days in advance and left in the fridge, and even longer in the freezer. The cookies can be kept in a tightly-sealed plastic bag or container for about 1 week.