Vanilla Almond Crescent Cookies are a traditional Austrian holiday butter cookie with almond and vanilla rolled in confectioners and vanilla sugars. These melt in your mouth and are a great addition to any holiday cookie platter or cookie exchange.
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These tender, melt in your mouth almond crescent cookies are a family favorite of mine since I was a kid. A favorite cookie in Austrian baking, possibly the most popular Austrian Christmas cookie and I can see why. Just a few ingredients and they last a long time kept in a cookie tin on the counter.
My family is from Vienna, Austria and these vanilla almond crescent cookies have been a staple holiday cooking in my family for generations. These are a must make at holidays along with Linzer cookies. This is my family's recipe.
I think German and Austrian Christmas cookies are the best of all the Christmas cookies. I have been slowly adding as many of my family's recipes to my blog over the years such as Linzer, Pfeffernüsse, Lebkuchen and Viennese Whirls.
These almond crescents are made with basic ingredients - nothing too crazy or hard to find. I like to make my own toasted almond flour for these, you can use store bought almond flour to save time.
Vanilla sugar is a must - which you can find online, well stocked international grocery stores, Austrian or German bakeries that also sell dry goods. I use a vanilla sugar from the packets (Dr. Oetker brand) and a vanilla sugar that has vanilla bean flecks in it. You could also make your own homemade vanilla sugar!
- All Purpose Flour
- Almonds ( toasted to make almond flour or use store bought almond flour/meal)
- Butter - unsalted
- Granulated Sugar
- Vanilla Sugar - I add the vanilla sugar to both the dough and to the confectioners sugar.
- Kosher Salt
- Vanilla Extract
- Confectioners sugar
See recipe card for quantities.
My instructions include toasting and food processing almonds to make flour. I like doing this for a richer almond flavor.
Toast the almonds in a pan on the stove or on a pan in the oven. Keeping a close eye so they don't burn.
Blend the almonds with some of the flour so you get an almond flour/meal and not an almond butter.
The vanilla sugar adds a boost of vanilla flavor as well as flecks of vanilla bean in the dough.
Dough is done and ready to shape. It needs to be just barely sticky so you can roll it without sticking to your hands.
This is a crumbly dough that comes together once kneaded by hand - but not kneaded too much to make it tough. If for some reason its not coming together at all, add a little milk to the dough - one tablespoon at a time until its soft but not wet or sticky.
This dough doesn't have eggs or leavening in it such as baking soda or baking powder. They are not needed.
Chill the dough at least 2 hours. Keeping the dough chilled will make for optimal baking success.
Weighing out even pieces of dough before rolling and shaping into crescents will ensure they all bake the same.
Hint: Only take out enough dough for each batch of cookies and keep the remaining dough chilled while the batches are baking. This helps keep the cookies from spreading.
The cookies take 15 minutes to bake, you don't want them browning just bake until golden and set.
Coating in sugar:
As soon as they are out of the oven - let cool for only a minute then start coating in the vanilla sugar-confectioners sugar mix. I place the cookies in the sugar and start spooning it over the top then carefully roll it around in the sugar before cooling on a wire rack. They are more likely to break when rolled while hot so be very careful with this step. Once completely cool I will roll them again.
These almond crescents only have a few ingredients, they are a very simple butter cookie, however you can make a few substitutions if you like.
- Flour- You can substitute a gluten free flour for the all purpose
- Almonds - I have made these with hazelnuts, walnuts and macadamia nuts before but almonds are the most traditional. Feel free to experiment with any nut you like. Pecans would also be excellent.
- Butter - I have not made these with a non-dairy butter so I cannot guarantee the same results but definitely give vegan butter a try.
- Nuts - see above in substitutions
- Spices - I love making these with cinnamon, nutmeg or even cardamom added in to the cookie dough
- Cinnamon Sugar - add cinnamon to the powdered sugar before rolling the cookies.
- Food processor - if making your own almond flour
- Stand mixer or large bowl with hand mixer
- Baking sheets
- Wire cooling rack
Almond crescent cookies keep really well in an airtight container kept at room temperature for a long time. They are often kept in cookie tins. You can also freeze them up to 6 months.
Rolling the cookies in the sugar twice will help keep them coated in the sugar. Rolling when hot makes it stick initially and the second coating fills in the gaps. If you wait too long to roll in sugar the first time it wont stick as well.
Weighing ingredients Vs using cups:
I use my food scale and weigh out ingredients in grams because this is the most accurate way to get the best quality baked goods. Cups aren't accurate because not only are all cups not the same the sizes vary from brand to brand as well as from different countries. I have done tests with different brands of measuring cups and they all came out with different weights after I did the spoon and level as well as scoop method and then weighed in grams.
Baking is a science and science needs accuracy. Weighing is accurate and precise. Not to mention a lot easier. Another issue with cups is that I have no control over how people use measuring cups to measure dry ingredients especially flour. You could pack in way too much which would result in a sub-par baked good. Too much flour could throw everything off. Same with not enough. Not to mention also some ingredients are difficult to measure in cups such as nuts, dried fruit, chocolate etc. This is why weighing in grams is the most accurate.
I also use grams for most liquid measure since 100 grams equals 100 ml of water. Smaller amounts of items measured in teaspoons I usually leave as teaspoons, tablespoons are sometimes listed in grams as well but for the most part the different tablespoons I have used have all resulted in the same amount. Aside from cute, decorative ceramic tablespoons and teaspoons are never accurate. Those are better as decoration than for being used for baking.
More Austrian Cookies:
Some of my faves I have made so far:
Vanilla Almond Crescent Cookies (Austrian Vanillekipferl) Recipe
- 188 g almonds toasted (can also use store-bought almond flour or almond meal - see notes)
- 390 g All Purpose flour
- 340 g butter unsalted, room temperature
- 150 g granulated sugar
- 18 g vanilla sugar 2 packets or 2 teaspoons
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 150 g Confectioners sugar
- 18 g Vanilla Sugar 2 packets
- Toast the almonds and let cool. Add them to a food processor with a third of the flour and pulse until you gave a fine almond flour. Do not over process and make almond butter. Add the almond flour mixture to the rest of the flour and whisk together.
- Cream together the butter and sugars together using a stand mixer or a large bowl using a hand mixer. Add in the vanilla and salt then the almond flour mixture. Mix on low until the dough comes together and is crumbly but comes together when lightly kneaded by hand. More like pressing the dough together than kneading like bread dough.
- Transfer the dough to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, chill for at least two hours.
- When ready to bake heat oven to 350 Deg. F Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together the confectioners sugar and vanilla sugar in a bowl and set aside.
- Measure out even sized dough balls - 40 grams or so, then gently shape into a crescent and place on the prepared baking sheet, placing each crescent two inches apart. Depending on the size of your baking sheets, you can bake 12-15 cookies at a time.
- Bake the cookies for 15 minutes. You don’t want them to brown, just set and slightly starting to get golden on the bottom.
- Let the cookies cool for one minute then working with two to three cookies at a time place in the bowl of confectioners sugar, spooning the sugar over the top, rolling the cookies very carefully in the sugar. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with all the cookies.
- Once the cookies are all baked, rolled in sugar and cooled completely, roll in the sugar again. Keep the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. These keep really well for a long time at room temp. You can also freeze them.