Maggie's Books & Recipes

in Memory of Margaret H.L. Lim

Vanilla Kipferl

10 oz ( 280 gm.) flour, unsifted
4 oz ( 110 gm) finely ground almonds

3 oz (70 gm) sugar
1 heaped tsp vanillin sugar
8 oz (210 gm or 2 sticks) butter

In a bowl, mix together flour, sugar, vanillin sugar and ground almonds. While the butter is still firm, cut it into small pieces and add to flour mixture. This way, you save the whole effort of cutting the butter into the flour. Allow the butter to soften slightly before you start working it into the flour with your fingers. Then knead into a smooth ball, roll out and cut into slices.


Form the slices into balls. Form the balls into "horns" or quarter-moons, patting lightly, because the dough is very soft. The ends should be tapered. Bake at 350 F or 170 Celsius for about 25 minutes. Allow to cool down on a rack.


Sprinkle icing/confectioner's sugar on the kipferl while they are still warm. Or put the sugar in a bowl and coat the kipferl on all sides.

SMAKELIJK ETEN! (Dutch for Bon appetit. The added "j" after the "i" makes it sound like the "i" in "like" .

Why do children in Europe, particularly in Germany and the Netherlands, have it better than most other children in the world during the Holiday Season?
Answer: During the month of December, they get presents twice!

Not only do they get presents at Christmas (from the Christ Child, not from Santa – more about this later) they also get presents  before Christmas – on the 5th of December, the Eve of the Feast Day of St. Nicholas.

St. Nicholas (270 – 6th December 346), Bishop of Myra (now Turkey) well-known as  an alms-giver, spent the fortune he had inherited from his parents by giving it away to the poor. He is the patron saint of sailors and merchants, and children.
He is usually pictured as an ascetic with a long white beard, wearing a long red robe, a red bishop’s mitre or hat, and carrying a crozier or staff.

This day in Germany is known as Nikolaustag, or St. Nicholas Day. Nikolaus is supposed to go from door to door, bringing presents for children who have been good. In some parts of Germany, he comes down the chimney. Children try to get on his  good side by putting out apples, carrots and sugar lumps for his horse on a plate or in a stocking. They leave these gifts either outside by the door or inside by the fire side. They find sweets, chocolates, cookies and toys in place of their gifts the next day. In East Friesland, Suenner Klaas’ horse traditionally gets sugar cubes, bread crusts and cabbage greens.

On the same day in the Netherlands, just right across the border, Sinterklaas arrives by ship, mounts his white horse and rides through town, accompanied by his helper Swarte Piet or Black Pete, who is the one who goes down chimneys with gifts. In the Netherlands, Sinterklaas, who is supposed to come from Spain, has been sighted since the middle of November. Before he distributes sweets to the children, he asks first if they have been good, threatening to spank those who have been naughty with the bundle of twigs he carries under his arm.
This day is a half-day Holiday in the Netherlands or the Low Countries, celebrated by adults as well, with small gifts being exchanged.