Czech Christmas Bread (Vánočka) – Traditional yeast-raised

Using yeast is the most common approach to making Czech Christmas bread (Vánočka). It requires two separate risings during the preparation process. From beginning to end, set aside at least 4 ½ hours to make. This recipe makes a long loaf with between 16 and 20 servings.

For a brief history of this Czech holiday staple, see my post Vánočka (Czech Christmas Bread) – Brief history and recipes. It references the recipe below, as well as an appealing yeast-free version that includes farmers cheese. Enjoy!

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Czech Farmers Cheese Christmas Bread (Tvarohová Vánočka)

This is a variation on the beloved Czech Christmas sweet bread (Vanočká) that is usually made with yeast. Instead, this version uses baking powder and other leavening agents. It also includes soft-style farmers cheese (měkký tvaroh), which increases its richness and gives its inside a slightly softer texture. It is quicker to make than its yeast-raised cousin (soon to also be posted), only requiring about 2 hours or less, from start to finish.

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Makové Kuličky (Poppy Seed Balls)

Mák (poppy seeds) are commonly used in baking, confections, and even more savory cooking, in Czech Republic. These poppy seed balls are unbaked, have only a small number of ingredients, and are relatively quick to make. If you love poppy seeds, you might really like these on your Christmas cookie platter. They are definitely unique!

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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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Buchty Recipes (Czech sweet buns with fillings)

As the buchty continue to rise, they bake together.

This month, my Czech Christmas cookie posts are being viewed by hundreds of people. It’s quite exciting! I will not be posting any additional Czech cookie recipe this year, but thought I’d add at least one new Czech sweet to my blog. Buchty are very popular sweet buns that are usually filled with a family’s favorite sweet fillings. It is the case that many buchty fillings are used for other recipes, including some Czech Christmas cookie recipes. Given this, you may wish to keep note of the filling recipes, by themselves. Or, maybe consider filling your home with the lovely scent of buchty. My husband and I enjoy eating buchty for breakfast, but they can be enjoyed anytime!

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Czech and Slovak Flours in the US and UK (and substitutions)

Czech-Slovak flours
Hladká (smooth), polohrubá (semi-coarse), and hrubá (coarse) mouka

In the past, I have posted several Czech recipes on my blog. As an enthusiastic home cook and baker in the US, it is natural that I would make my native Czech husband foods that he grew up eating in Prague. My mother-in-law was an excellent home cook, and I’m lucky that she shared several recipes.

My husband and I have been together for almost 25 years now. Early in our marriage, I struggled to get some Czech dishes right, but have since mostly mastered them. In the early years, the flours I had access to in the US (or rather didn’t) were issues. In this post, I describe some of the most commonly used flours in Czech Republic – particularly wheat-based flours – and possible substitutions. The main wheat flours in Czech Republic are described according to coarseness, from smooth all the way to very coarse. 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.

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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

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.

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