Kifli refers to a shape and food, savory and sweet, which became popular during the Austro-Hungarian Empire and is therefore available in many parts of Europe with different names. Kipfel is the Austrian name, kifla is the Romanian and Serbian, and kifli is the Hungarian and Czech name.
The name originally referred to the crescent shape and to savory breads in this shape. (It was the precursor to the croissant.) In central and eastern Europe they created sweetened treats like the cookie we’re serving today. This particular cookie is very popular in Austria and Hungary today. Interestingly Jewish communities also made this cookie. The Yiddish word kipfel came to mean crescent cookies made from leavened and unleavened doughs. A favorite Jewish version was a nut version called nusskipferlin.
Made with almonds, flour, butter, sugar, vanilla bean and extract and a bit of powdered sugar they are, in a word, addictive. Share them, if your will is strong enough.
Zingerman's Food Tours is visiting Hungary in May, 2015. Join us for a behind-the-scenes insiders' journey to taste traditional foods like this.