Nougatkipferl have never been my favorite of my Christmas Cookies to make. There are a number of things wrong with the recipe that I have been using for years, not the least of which is that nougat is really hard to find in the US. Substituting Nutella has usually worked, however this year, Nutella’s ingredient / composition changed somewhat (to much controversy, actually), and that made it more difficult to bake with. So, after a fail or two with the dough, I started from scratch and came up with this recipe. It has a little bit of corn syrup in it, which is not my favorite thing, but seemed to help with the dough’s consistency when I was rolling it out.
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon hazelnut extract
1 large egg
2/3 cup Nutella
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
for the chocolate glaze
4 ounces dark chocolate
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
nonpareils or sprinkles (optional)
You will also need: a crescent shaped cookie cutter
In the work bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Mix in the corn syrup, vanilla, almond extract, egg, and nutella scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl so that everything gets mixed in. Mix in flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda until everything is combined. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out crescent shapes, rerolling the dough as necessary. Place cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 2 to 3 minutes on the pan before carefully removing to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
In a metal bowl set over a simmering pot of water, melt the chocolate and vegetable shortening. Line the counter or cookie sheets with wax paper, then dip the cookies partially in the melted chocolate. Top with decoration as desired while the chocolate is still wet. Let set on the counter until completely hardened.