No Nomsense: Vanillekipferln

A cookie by any other name would taste as good.

Though traditionally seen as a Christmas cookie, the snowball cookie has no distinct name and thus can be endlessly adapted, renamed, and eaten guiltlessly after New Year’s. Sometimes snowball cookies are called Mexican wedding cakes or Russian tea cakes. If you form the dough into crescent shapes they become vanilla crescents or vanillekipferln, which have supposed Austrian origin.  Sometimes these cookies are made with walnuts or pecans, but I use almonds. However they’re made, they’ve got to be coated with powdered sugar.

Almond flour can be substituted for ground almonds. Almond flour (sometimes known as almond meal) can be found at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Almond flour produces a smoother texture (and less work) than chopped almonds.

Snowball Cookies

(Adapted from Vanillekipferl recipe in Recipes: The Cooking of Vienna’s Empire; Time-Life Books, 1977)

2 sticks butter at room temperature
½ cup sugar
2 cups flour
1¼ cups almond flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
confectioner’s sugar

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the flour and almond flour ½ cup at a time. Add vanilla. Let chill one hour. Roll into small balls and squash slightly on a lightly buttered or parchment paper lined baking sheet so the cookies are slightly oblong. Alternatively, roll into a snake shape and curve into a crescent. Place on baking sheet. Cook 15-20 minutes. Allow to sit until cool enough to handle. Roll or dust in confectioner’s sugar.