Vanillekipferl (crescent cookies)

Vanillekipferl, or crescent cookies, dusted with a light layer of powered sugar.

The kipfel could be considered the forefather of the croissant. But those with a sweet tooth will pass on the rolls and opt for these old-fashioned vanillekipferl, or crescent cookies. In addition to the basic recipe, we offer three tasty adaptations: apricot, jam half-moons and cherry cream.

Yield: 5 dozen

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3½ cups flour
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into chunks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
¾ cup prune butter
1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


  1. In a large bowl, blend the flour and butter. In another bowl, blend the cream cheese, vanilla, salt and baking powder. Add the cream cheese mixture to the butter-flour mixture. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Working with one half at a time, divide the dough into five pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a 6-inch circle. Cut into 6 wedges. Drop about ½ teaspoon of the prune butter at the wide end and roll up, starting at the wide end.
  3. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and curve the ends of the cookie in to form a crescent. Brush with the egg wash. Bake for 16 to 17 minutes, until just golden. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Tasty twists: 

Apricot kipfels
Omit the prune butter and use an apricot puree instead. To make the puree: In a saucepan, combine 4 ounces chopped dried apricots, ⅓ cup orange juice, ½ cup water and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Simmer, stirring, until the apricots are soft, about 10 minutes. Puree in a food processor.
Jam half-moons
Roll out the dough and cut into 2-inch rounds. Use raspberry jam instead of prune butter. Put ½ teaspoon jam in the center of the round, fold over. Crimp all the way around with the tines of a fork to seal.
Cherry cream kipfels
Omit the prune butter and make a filling of ¾ cup cream cheese, ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar and ¼ cup finely chopped dried cherries.

Cheers to the season of delicious cookies! Check out even more recipes: