Most Czech Christmas cookies use butter, but these old traditional ones have always included lard. “Sádlovky” is simply the diminutive of “lard”, kind of meaning “Little Lards”. Lard cookies are about a simple as they get, with only a few ingredients, and easy to make. They are melt-in-the-mouth and let the beautiful flavors of cocoa (or vanilla) and the jam (or other filling) shine. To most Americans, like me, they look like a thumbprint cookie. As seen in the above photo, they are often filled with a bit of fruit jam, and sometimes a nut, but you can get creative with both the cookie flavor and filling. Nutella is especially nice in the cocoa versions. Continue reading
Coconut Chocolate Rum Swirls (Kokosově čokoládový vír s rumem)
It’s not even December, as I write this, yet I’m already planning my Christmas baking projects. I have new additions to my ever growing mega post Authentic Recipes for Czech Christmas Cookies and Sweet Breads (České vánoční cukroví). Four years ago, the post contained about 10 recipes. By Christmas, I may near almost 20. Earlier today, I made a yummy Christmas confection that I feature here.
Coconut Cocoa Rum Swirls (Kokosově čokoládový vír s rumem) are no-bake sliced confections almost like coins of fudge. The chocolate rum dough swirls around a creamy coconut filling that contains a touch of cream cheese (or farmer’s cheese – tvaroh). Though they may not be on every Czech Christmas cookie tray, they are an example of a newer one that reflects Czech tastes and the creativity of modern day Czech home cooks. The inspiration recipe was from a Czech cooking site, where they called it “Coconut Rum Madness” (“Kokosovo rumové šílenství”)! Continue reading
Marzipan Stuffed Dates with Candied Fruit (Plněné datle)
Dates are popular treats at Christmas time throughout the world. It’s definitely the case in Czech Republic, where I’ve seen beautiful ones in holiday baking sections at grocery stores. Here they are stuffed with marzipan that has a bit of orange essence, and then top with candied fruit, another ingredient you see a lot of in Czech stores around the holidays. Though any candied or dried fruit works well, I particularly love to use the combination of candied orange peel and halved dried cranberries on top. If you have the marzipan ready and handy, these are quick to make.Continue reading
Masarykovo Cukroví (Masaryk’s Cookies)
These simple shortbread type cookies are sort of the Czech equivalent of Pecan Sandies in the US. The main difference is the use of whole hazelnuts/filberts, instead of pecans. Hazelnuts (called “lískové oříšky” in Czech) are quite popular in Czech desserts. They also add unique circles in each cookie slice. Beyond the time it takes for the dough to chill and cookies to bake, the preparation process is quick and and very easy.Continue reading
Plněné Ořechy (Stuffed “Nut” Cookies)
Christmas cookie making gone nuts? Well, I guess you could say, “Yes!” These Plněné Ořechy (stuffed nut-shaped cookies) are usually reserved for more ambitious Christmas cookie making, but it’s quite a pleasure when they appear on the cookie tray. They are meant to look like a nut (most often walnut) and to celebrate their wonderful flavor. A final decoration with either chocolate on the ends, or simply a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, is optional. “Stuffings” can vary according to taste or nut shape. Here I continue the nut flavor, but with a touch of rum.Continue reading
Kokosky (Coconut Meringue Cookies)
Today is only the second week of November, yet I’ve made my first batch of Christmas cookies this year! I’ve decided to add a few additional varieties to my 10 Varieties of Czech Christmas Cookies post. So maybe I’ll have 13 or 14 in that post before Christmas?
Here I’m featuring melt in your mouth coconut meringue cookies, which are also popular on Czech Christmas cookie trays. Like most Czech cookies, they are made small to be one or two-bites each. Virtually the only fat in these meringues comes from the coconut, unless you decide to dip them in chocolate, as well.Continue reading
Authentic Recipes for Czech Christmas Cookies and Sweet Breads (České Vánoční Cukroví)
Below you’ll find a large collection of authentic and traditional recipes for Christmas cookies, confections, and sweet breads, that are popular in Czech Republic. Many regard Central European Christmas sweets among the best in the world, and I must agree. Since I first published this post, I’ve continued to add new recipes each year. It’s one of the most comprehensive collections, written in English, you’ll find online. According to my Czech hubby, my mother-in-law would make as many as 13 different varieties for her platter, plus Christmas breads. I’ve never made that many in a given year, but have made more over the last four years, learning a couple varieties that my mother-in-law never made.
Bee Hive or Wasp Nests Cookies (Vosí Hnízda)
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. Continue reading
Marzipan Hedgehogs (Marcipánoví Ježci)
Czech Christmas Cookie/Confection #9
These cute little hedgehogs are not my mother-in-law’s creation, but I couldn’t resist including them in my Czech Christmas cookie countdown. Actually, they’re not really cookies either, but candy confections. Many Czechs (and other Europeans) love both marzipan confections and hedgehogs – animals that can occasionally be seen in rural areas of Europe. If you like, you can use some of the marzipan to make other shaped things, as I did in the photo above. Marzipan can be colored with gel food coloring, and decorated in many ways. It can also be used in recipes like sweet breads, baked cookies, and more. This recipe makes about 12 oz (350 g) of marzipan. These marzipan hedgehogs are not baked. Continue reading
Princess Cookies (Princezky)
Czech Christmas Cookie #8
Bite into these chewy nutty meringue-style sandwich cookies to reach the bliss of a delicious chocolate buttercream filling. My mother-in-law usually used roasted hazelnuts or walnuts for the meringue cookie, but some Czechs use blanched almonds. The nut choice will affect the color, a bit. Meant to be a one or two-bite cookie – that is, if you can stop at only one cookie! These were my husband’s favorite Christmas cookie, as a child. The pictured Princezky were made using finely ground roasted hazelnuts, our favorite nut choice. This combination, with the chocolate buttercream, is a little reminiscent of Nutella. Even yummier, in my view. They do crisp up a little over time, but are still great. Continue reading