This post marks the end of my Czech Christmas cookie countdown. Phew! On November 11th, I posted my first of 10 Czech Christmas cookie/confection recipes, with my last posted yesterday, along with a bonus Czech sweet bread. According to my husband, my mother-in-law would make as many as 13 different varieties for their platter. Frankly, I can’t manage all of that baking! Continue reading
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
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
Czech Christmas Cookie #7
A nutty meringue cookie with a hint of chocolate flavor. This cookie can last for weeks. Because of that, during WWII, my Czech mother-in-law sent a large batch of these cookies to Jewish friends that sadly were taken to a concentration camp. These were a favorite of my husband’s father. My mother-in-law spread the batter in a pan, then cut them into squares. I prefer to bake them in individual traditional small rounds. I think they’re prettier that way. As with many others, these taste even better as they age.
Do follow the recipe exactly as written. Definitely use walnuts and real confectioner’s sugar. I tried other nuts with less success. Low/no calorie confectioner’s sugar substitutes made the recipe fail.
Czech Christmas Cookie #6
Rum, chocolate, walnut balls with the delight of rum-soaked dried cherries in their centers, pack a delicious flavor punch. No wheat flour needed. They even improve with age, but I tend to eat up the first batch quickly. They are traditionally rolled in unsweetened cocoa, which gives them a nice flavor bite, but you can get even more creative, as I did for the photo above (cocoa, finely grated coconut, finely chopped/ground nuts, and multi-color nonpareils). Continue reading
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
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
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
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.
Czech 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