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.

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Masarykovo Cukroví (Masaryk’s Cookies)

No, I didn’t eat all of those cookies in one sitting. LOL! Just a couple.

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.

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Plněné Ořechy (Stuffed “Nut” Cookies)

Would you like a nut…cookie?

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.

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Kokosky (Coconut Meringue Cookies)

Puffs of heavenly coconut bliss

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.

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Authentic Recipes for Czech Christmas Cookies and Sweet Breads (České Vánoční Cukroví)

Below you will find a large collection of authentic and traditional recipes for Czech Christmas cookies. I also  include Christmas breads, with two versions of vánočka. According to my Czech husband, my mother-in-law would make as many as 13 different varieties of Christmas cookies for her platter. I won’t be making that many, this year, but plan to have over 13 varieties in this post, and maybe even more, later down the line.

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Bee Hive or Wasp Nests Cookies (Vosí Hnízda)

Vosi Hnizda final group finished photo
The Vosni Hnizda in the back are not coated with chocolate.

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)

Marzipan M2 version
Marzipan hedgehogs with marzipan Christmas tree and marzipan candy star “gifts”

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)

Princezky Princess cookies finished
Filled Princezky. Pipe the filling to make slightly prettier. Sorry the otvírák is in the photo.

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

Bear Paw Cookies (Pracny or Medvědí Tlapky)

Czech 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

Linzer Tart Cookies (Linecké Koláčky)

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