Vosi Hnizda are cute no-bake rum eggnog or custard filled 3-dimensional cookies. They generally require a special mold to make that’s available throughout Czech Republic, or can be found online, in the US. The traditional version includes a nut-based dough for the “nest” or “hive” part, though people with nut allergies can find no-nut versions online, elsewhere. My mother-in-law made them without cocoa, but those who like cocoa, can add it. They are traditionally filled with a rum-flavored eggnog or custard, but other flavors can be used. My Czech husband prefers the larger amount of rum in the dough, but I prefer the lesser. The eggnog can be flavored, to taste, as well. I don’t provide a homemade eggnog recipe because I find high-quality store bought to be both easier, and a bit safer for consumption. Many Czechs use bottled. Feel free to substitute a flavored custard or buttercream for eggnog, if desired.
The cookie dough and base include wafer-like vanilla sponge cookies. The base is a whole cookie and holds the eggnog in. In Czech Republic, the sponge cookies are called piškoty. In the US, you can use Nilla vanilla wafers, or similar. The molds I use require the regular size Nilla wafers. Mini size are very small. Some people get extra creative and dip the wasp nests/bee hives in chocolate. They could even be decorated to look like a Christmas tree.
Note: I need a total of two 11 oz (311 g) boxes of Nilla vanilla wafers for this recipe. Some wafers will be leftover. That is for both the dough and cookie bases, combined. This recipe makes approximately 34 total Vosi Hnizda of the indicated size.
- 150 g (5.3 oz) confectioner’s sugar
- 100 g (3.5 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg yolk (from pasteurized egg, if raw egg worries you)
- 2 to 4 Tbs rum (or other appropriate sweet liquor), to taste
- 1/2 package (4 to 4.5 g) vanilla sugar OR, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 110 g (4 oz) finely ground nuts (usually walnuts)
- 250 g (8.8 oz), or more, sponge biscuits (i.e. Nilla vanilla wafers), finely ground
- Optional: 2 Tbs unsweetened quality cocoa (if you prefer a dark style)
Rum Eggnog Filling
- 1 cup of your favorite plain high-quality store-bought thick-style eggnog
- ½ tsp vanilla extract (if not in the eggnog)
- Rum (or other appropriate sweet liquor), to taste – Start with 1 to 2 Tbs
- Eggnog that already has rum or other flavoring (found in some liquor stores)
Other Recipe Elements
- Sponge biscuits/vanilla wafers for cookie bases (should fully cover cookie bottom to keep eggnog in)
- Optional: Confectioner’s sugar, melted chocolate, and/or other decorations
Making the dough
Cream together the confectioner’s sugar, yolk, and butter, then add the rum and extract (or vanilla sugar). In another bowl, combine the ground nuts, biscuits/wafers, and optional cocoa (if using). [I use my food processor for the grinding.] Add this dry mixture to the wet mixture, to form a dough. If the dough sticks to your hands, add more finely ground biscuits/wafers. I usually need the larger listed amount. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or longer, before molding.
Molding & filling the dough
Vosí Hnízda molds usually come in a few sizes. I prefer to use the middle size, with a base width of 1 ¾ inches (3 ½ cm) and height of 1 ½ inches (4 cm). A smaller size may need a smaller biscuit/wafer base. The largest size seems overwhelmingly big, in my view, but that’s a matter of opinion.
Vosí Hnízda dough very often sticks to the inside of the mold. Many recipes suggest first dusting the inside of the mold with confectioner’s sugar, but I prefer a different method that works much better for me. First, cut out a few squares of plastic wrap that are bigger than the contents of the molds. Then roll some of the dough into a ball, not quite the size of the whole mold. Put the ball of dough in the plastic square. Insert into the mold (still in the plastic wrap), then press a cavity into the center of the dough with your pinky finger or the end of a wooden spoon, pushing around a bit so there is ample space for the eggnog filling, and the dough pushes against the mold sides. Rub or cut off any excess dough from the bottom of the mold, so the base is level.
Carefully remove plastic wrapped molded dough from the mold, and then remove the plastic wrap and any stray dough bits. Be sure there are no cracks in the formed dough, or it will leak. Gently holding the molded Vosí Hnízda upside-down, fill the cavity with flavored eggnog or custard. Then center a whole vanilla biscuit/wafer (flat-side outwards) to the base, to hold the eggnog in. Carefully invert the prepared Vosí Hnízda and gently press it onto the wafer/biscuit, holding for a few seconds before placing on a platter. Repeat the whole molding/filling process with the rest of the dough, eggnog, and wafer bases. Let filled cookies set for at least a few hours before handling again. The base should then be sufficiently stuck to the cookie part. After that, if desired, dust with confectioner’s sugar or decorate with chocolate, etc. If coating with chocolate, let set/chill afterwards, for chocolate to harden.
As stated in introduction, this cookie is not baked. The raw-dough-portion will firm/dry up over time. I realize the rawness may seem odd to some. You will notice a difference after a number of hours, and days. Store in a cool place.