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 roasted hazelnuts, which is also my usual choice, but other types of nuts could also be used. The pictured cookies are smaller than they may appear. I consider them a two-bite cookie, while my husband eats them in one.
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) OR, 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- 210 grams smooth flour (hladká mouka) or scant 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (in the US)
- 100 grams very finely chopped (ground) 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 150 g (1 cup) 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 sugar (or vanilla extract), and salt. Then beat in the flour ½ cup at a time. Add very finely chopped/ground 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 grinding the nuts.]
Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and let it chill in the refrigerator for about 40 to 60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Form small 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 in (or dust with) 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. Makes 60 to 72 cookies, depending on size preference.