Although they have an Austrian name, these Kipferl (meaning small croissants) are also very popular in Switzerland and I always enjoyed making them as a child. I have tried to not just turn a classic recipe vegan, but to add at least some nutritional value, even though these are of course meant to be a bit of a naughty treat. There’s some – although really not very much – white sugar involved, which you can replace with brown/unprocessed or date sugar if you don’t mind slightly browner Kipferl. Cashew nuts are a good source of protein and mono-/polyunsaturated fats and contain significant amounts of various minerals and vitamins including copper, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, selenium, thiamin, vitamin B6 and vitamin K. Gram flour is high in protein, dietary fibre and folate and is naturally gluten free if you are looking for gluten free baking options. Using fresh vanilla is well worth going through the trouble of finding it, but you can also use vanilla essence. Shaping these little moons is great fun for even smaller children, although you might have to assist a little rolling the dough into small sausages first.
What you need:
200g cashew kernels – ground into flour using a food processor (keep a close eye on it as it can get a bit sticky if left in for too long)
100g gram flour or alternatively use plain white flour*
Pinch of sea salt
1 vanilla pod – inside scraped out
60g vegan butter (use a firm block rather than a spreadable option) – room temperature or melted
A little icing sugar for dusting (optional)**
How you do it:
In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients including the vanilla paste (use a knife or the back of your finger nail to scrape it out of the pod).
Add the butter, if it isn’t soft enough you can also melt it first.
Stir everything thoroughly until it turns into a dough, it might feel like there’s not enough liquid/butter to start with, but any more and it will likely end up being too wet and sticky.
Once it’s all combined you can give it a last knead with your hands before rolling it into 4 or 5 long sausages (aim for a diameter of about 2cm, if they start breaking they are too long).
Now slice the "sausages" into smaller pieces of roughly 8cm in length.
Preheat your oven at fan 160C so it can heat up while the kids are shaping the Kipferl.
On a lined baking tray bake them for about 20mins or until the ends start to brown a little.
Leave to cool before dusting them with a bit of icing sugar.**
*I made a mixed batch of both gram and plain flour and you can see in the pictures that the gram flour ones are slightly yellow. The plain flour ones are a little more brittle and therefore slightly trickier to shape into moons. Overall both versions have been rated 'super delicious' by family and friends, with the gram option possibly being the favourite.
**If - like me - you don’t have a very sweet tooth and the dusting is more for presentation than extra sweetness you can also use plain white flour instead of icing sugar (just don’t tell the kids ;-)).