Bear Paw Cookies (Pracny or Medvědí Tlapky)

Pracny croppedCzech Christmas Cookie #5

Pracny (or Medvědí Tlapky) are very traditional Czech nut and spice cookies baked in special cookie molds, some looking like bear paws. The following recipe has a light amount of spices. Other recipes include more. Feel free to increase the ground cinnamon and clove amounts a bit, according to your taste. Too much clove can get overwhelming, though. This is an eggless recipe. Traditional molds for pracny can be found online. I purchased mine at https://www.slovczechvar.com/?cat=26&scat=88, which is an online store in the US.

I have only ever used smooth flour for this recipe. Unbleached pastry flour (see below) should be an equivalent. I’m not sure how they would turn out using all-purpose flour. Continue reading

Moroccan Cookies (Marokánky)

Marakanky with craisins detailed
The above pictured Moroccan cookies (on salad plate) were made with candied orange peel, Craisins, sliced almonds and chopped walnuts. My favorite combo.

Czech Christmas Cookie #4

A crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside cookie with the delights of fruit and nuts, and bittersweet chocolate on the bottom. The batter is prepared in a saucepan, cooled then baked, and later dipped in chocolate. The original recipe calls for candied orange peel with nuts, but other dried fruit (or a combination) could be used. The combination of candied orange peel and dried cranberries (i.e. Craisins), with the nuts, is especially nice for the holidays. I highly suggest using candied orange peel. It gives the cookie its signature lovely flavor. I have found it in gourmet shops, but usually order it online. US ingredient equivalents/substitutions are provided, where necessary. I suggest weighing the fruit and nuts. Continue reading

Linzer Tart Cookies (Linecké Koláčky)

Linzer tart cookie 2
Choose your own cookie shape

Czech Christmas Cookie #3

There are no nuts in these buttery Linzer Tart cookies (Linecké koláčky)! They have a lovely hint of lemon and a burst of delicious jelly/preserves goodness. I love these so much with raspberry or red currant preserves, although other fruit flavors would work, too. I buy the highest quality preserves available. These are less crunchy and more melt-in-your mouth than other Linzer cookies. They hold up well. I sometimes make a double batch because these are my personal favorite Christmas cookies. Continue reading

Vanilla Crescent Cookies (Vanilkové rohlíčky)

Vanilla crescent cookies CWCzech 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.

Continue reading

Ischl Torte Cookies (Ischelské dortíčky)

Ischl torte cookies finishedCzech Christmas Cookie #1

These sandwich cookies are a buttery, chocolaty, nutty delight with a delicious jelly/preserves and rum-hazelnut filling. They are almost like a mini fancy torte. The original recipe was created in 1849 in the spa town of Bad Ischl, in Austria, as a treat for the Emperor Franz Joseph I of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. If using Czech/Slovak flour, go by all ingredient amounts in grams and the Celsius oven temperature. Otherwise, use the American measurements. Continue reading

Czech-Style Potato Salad

Czech-Style Potato Salad (2)
There is actually a lot more potato salad in the bowl than it appears. Around 3 quarts.

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans! I hope everyone has good weather and will perhaps enjoy the delights of a BBQ.  I’m going to my dad’s house today, where my brother will surely be the grill master. We will have simple barbecue fare, like good ole’ Loeffler’s hot dogs, hamburgers, and pork roll (a New Jersey specialty). I was asked to bring potato salad. Continue reading

Beef Goulash Znojmo Style (Znojemský guláš)

IMG_20180321_133819038
Not the prettiest dish, but it tastes so good! Pictured with Karlovy Vary bread dumplings.

Goulash is very popular throughout Central Europe, and is a real comfort food, made at home and offered at some restaurants and pubs. Its origins are from Hungary, but the recipe takes on many forms, depending on where it is made. In this post, I’d like to share a goulash from the city of Znojmo in the South Moravian Region of Czech Republic. Continue reading

Czech Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary) Bread Dumplings – Karlovarský knedlík

Knedliky
Knedlíky are great for soaking up sauces or with sauerkraut

Dumplings (Knedlíky)! The Czech people just love them, and they come in various forms and flavors, for various purposes! Dumplings are often served with meat dishes (usually with sauces or sauerkraut), may appear in some soups, or even have fruit or other sweet fillings Continue reading

I have always loved a good brew! Reflections of a beer lover.

Beer froth

I remember being no more than four years old when my dad asked me to grab him a beer from the refrigerator. That was way back in the mid-1970s. I’m not sure what inspired me to open the can the first time. Was it the challenge of opening it, which back then had the old pull-tabs? Or the curiosity of what that drink tasted like? Either way, I did taste it, and probably unlike 95% of children that age, I actually liked the way it tasted, despite it being what I now call “cheap American swill”. Dad obviously knew I stole a taste, and got a kick out of it. From that point on (as a child), I’d always take a taste. As time went on, the “tastes” grew more substantial. Continue reading

Finding Czech and Slovak groceries in the US (and UK)

Czech selection of foods
Selection of food items commonly eaten in Czech Republic and Slovakia. Some products may be produced in other countries.

Are you a Czech or Slovak living in the US or UK? Or a significant other of one who wishes to cook and bake some Czech/Slovak specialties for your family? You may have noticed that some ingredients are not so easy to find in the US or UK. Well, I have a few suggestions that might help you out. Continue reading