Czech Christmas Cookie #2
My Czech mother-in-law’s vanilla crescent cookies (vanilkové rohlíčky) are the most melt-in-your-mouth version I’ve ever tried. This popular buttery vanilla and nut cookie is enjoyed throughout much of Central Europe. These taste great the first day, and even better as they age. I always make plenty! They are my husband’s favorite cookie. My mother-in-law used unroasted hazelnuts, but I use roasted. The roasted nuts add an amazingly extra delicious flavor and do not affect the cookie texture negatively, at all.
I’ve provided both metric and US measurement equivalents for the recipe. Though the original recipe uses smooth flour (hladká mouka), US all-purpose flour yields the same result. I strongly recommend buying “vanilla sugar” (see photo below). The type needed is a powdery, not granulated, type. In the US, a common brand of vanilla sugar is Dr. Oetker’s. This product is available in most grocery stores near me (in the baking section). It could also be purchased online.
- 155 grams (5.5 oz or 11 Tbs) butter, softened
- 50 grams (1.8 oz or 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs) confectioner’s sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 small packet (8 or 9 g) of powdery vanilla sugar (i.e. Dr. Oetker’s)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 210 grams smooth flour (hladká mouka) or scant 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (in the US)
- 100 grams very finely chopped skinned filberts/hazelnuts or skin-on/off almonds (highly recommend roasted filberts/hazelnuts)
- For dusting: 1 packet more of vanilla sugar (8 or 9 g) mixed with 1.5 cups confectioner’s sugar
Cream the softened butter and sugar together at medium speed with a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla or vanilla sugar, and salt. Then beat in the flour 1/2 cup at a time. Add very finely chopped/grated nuts, continuing to beat until the mixture becomes a slightly stiff dough. [Note: The food processor “S” blade or nut grinder does a great job of finely grating the nuts.]
Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and let it chill in the refrigerator for about 30 to 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Form walnut-size (or smaller) pieces of dough into crescent shapes on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 mins or until just golden brown on the edges. They enlarge slightly as they bake. Do keep that in mind. Cool until only slightly warm. Not hot.
While still slightly warm, gently roll cookies in the confectioner’s sugar/vanilla sugar mixture on a plate, shaking off excess. Put on cooling racks to cool completely. [I usually put paper under the racks to catch extra sugar.] Do not pile on top of each other! When cookies are thoroughly cool, gently roll them a second time in the sugar mixture (or lightly dust with sifter) and then store in an airtight container. These will keep for several weeks. They even improve with age.