Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Czech Christmas Cookies - Medové perníčky

Honey-gingerbread cookies

These smell and taste just wonderful. Makes a lot of cookies but don't worry, you will eat them all.

5.2 cups all purpose flour (I used the same amount of just wholewheat)
2 cups powder sugar
pinch of salt

spices: (you can also use pre-mixed gingerbread spices but this is much better)
1/2 teaspoon ground anise
1/2 teaspoon ground star anise
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/3 cup honey - must be liquid
1/2 stick butter at room temperature
2 teaspoon baking soda
4 whole eggs (I used 6 yolks and 2 eggwhites)

for decoration:
1.6 cups powdered sugar
1 eggwhite
1 teaspoon cornstarch
juice form half lemon

to make the dough - needs to rest in the fridge for 2 days:
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, spices, baking soda. Make a hole in the middle and add honey, eggs, butter. Mix in with the fork and work with your hands kneading he dough until you get very compact dough. Wrap in plastic and let sit in thef ridge fro 2 days.

to make cookies:
Preheat the oven to 320F. Prepare 2 baking sheets and line them with baking paper. You will need cookie cutters. The smaller ones are easier to eat, the big ones are easier and more fun to decorate. Roll the dough in batches, keep the rest in the fridge. I used my pasta roller on the thickest setting. The dough should be about 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut out the shapes and transfer them to the baking sheet. Re-roll the dough that is left from cutting and cut again. When you have a full sheet, put it in the oven on the middle rack and bake until about 10 mins. The cookies will rise, get lighter and then darker. Let the cookies cool on the sheet and work on the other sheet, once the cookies are cool, transfer them into prepared box.

to decorate cookies:
mix all inrediences. It is better to sift the sugar but I never do. Put about 3 tablespoons of mixture in a small plastic bag and cut off one corner, make sure you make just tiny hole. Press the mixture into that corner and turn the bag just above the mixture couple times so that you can squeeze it out easily. Do your test decoration on one of the cookies. You may need to thicken the mixture with more sugar or thin it with more lemon. Or you may need to use another bag if the hole is too big.

These cookies keep for very long time, you can still eat them on Easter and they are even better.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Czech Christmas Cookies - Linecké


This one is classic, the dough has a lemony soothing taste. I always plan on finding a perfect jam to match it and always end up with the taste od jam overpowering the taste of dough. This time I used raspberry, I would like to make another batch with lemon and orange preserves. I think rosehip would also be good.

This recipe makes about 40 cookies.


2 cups all purpose flour + extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
0.7 cup powdered sugar
1.2 sticks of butter at room temperature
2 egg yolks
juice and zest from 1 lemon

To make the dough:

On the rolling board sift the flour, add sugar, zest and spices, cut in the butter, add yolks and lemon juice and knead a pliant dough. Wrap in plastic and let sit in the fridge over night.

To make cookies:

Preheat the oven to 320F, position on the middle rack. Prepare 2 baking sheets with baking paper. Prepare cookie cutters, you will need 2 cookie cutters, one full heart and one with the little heart in the middle. Roll out the dough just under 1/4 inch think. Cut out hearts so you end up with half amount of full hearts and half amount of hearts with the little heart in the middle.
The easiest is to transfer the hearts to the baking sheet when the dough is still inside the cookie cutter.Bake one sheet at the time for 5 - 9 minuts, the cookies should be still light. Leave to cool on the sheet for 2 minutes. spread the jam on teh full hearts and cover them with the one with the hole. Store int eh box in cold place for at least a week or two. You can powder them with sugar just before serving.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Czech Christmas Cookies - Rohlíčky


Rohlíčky means tiny rolls and that's what they are. Everybody here seems to have their own recipe and the cooking magazines are filled with sightly different recipes. This is a modification of my grandma's recipe and it makes about 6 - 7 sheets of cookies, a LOT of rolling. You can cut the recipe in half if you want less. They are my favorite (to eat)!

Again, you want to make the dough up front a day or two. They are tasty right when you make them, especially when still hot, but even better when sitting in a cold place for couple weeks.


4 cups all purpose flour (i mixed 2 and 2 cups od wholewheat and all purp. this time)
0.55 lb powdered sugar
0.3 lb walnuts chopped in food processor to the cou-cous size
0.2 lb peeled almonds chopped the same way (or you can use all walnuts)
2 egg yolks (I used 4 because I used wholewheat flour)
3 sticks butter at room temperature (I used 3,5)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

To make the dough:

Whisk together the flours, sugar, walnuts, almonds in bigger bowl. Make a hole in the middle and add yolks. Stir them with the fork to partly mix it with some of the flour and then add butter cut in small pieces. Work with your hand to knead the dough. It is a LOT of dough, you will be quite tired. No matter what you will end up with a nice dough that you should wrap in plastic foil or plastic bag you get at the grocery store and put it to teh bottom of the fridge for 1 or 2 days, up to a week.

To make cookies:

Rohlíčky are quite elaborate. I tend to make one sheet at the time and come back to it later because it is quite time consuming and if you try to do it all at once you need a whole afternoon or a lot of friends to help, which is also fun.

Preheat the oven to 300F, on the middle position rack. Prepare 1 or 2 baking sheets and line them with baking paper. Cut off about 1 inch of your dough and put the rest to the fridge. It is important to work with cold dough because warm dough just doesn't stick together. Even the cold dough will be quite tricky. Take out small piece of dough to form a ball about 3/4 inch in diameter. When forming a ball, the trick is to work only with the center of your palms, don't use your fingers. When you have a ball, rub your palms together to create 1/2 diameter roll, about 2,5 inch long. Place it on the cookie sheet and bend it to the rohlíček shape.

When you are done with the sheet (one takes me about 20 min to roll), put it in the oven and bake about 5 - 10 mins. The rohlíčky should be still light and slightly pink. They are also edible when a little bit darker but they can give you heartburn.

Coat them immediately in the powdered sugar and store in a box in a cold place, the longer the better.

Czech Christmas Cookies - Pracny


For most Czech Christmas cookies you need to let the dough rest for at least 12 hrs. Then they need to sit in the closed box for at least a week or two. That's the sad part. But then they are SO good when you eat them all the way till January.

These are Pauly's favorite, he said Marta used to make them.

You will need shallow tin forms about 2 - 4 inches big. I don't grease and I re-use them unwashed, just get the crumbles out after each batch and I wash them when I'm finished.


1.6 cups all purpose flour
1.6 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 sticks minus a pat butter at room temperature
0.44 lb walnuts crushed in the food processor to the side of bigger cous-cous but be careful not to make it too oily
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
powdered sugar to coat the cookies

To make the dough:

Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and spices, add walnuts and whisk together. Then cut in the butter in small pieces. Work with your hands to make nice non-sticking dough. It is a messy job and takes a while. When you are done, wrap the dough in a food plastic foil to keep all the air out and store on the bottom of your fridge for up to 1 week.

To bake the cookies:

Preheat the oven to 320F positioned on the middle rack. Prepare empty baking sheet and bring the dough that was kep in the fridge for at least 12 hrs. depends on how many tin form you have (I have about 20), cut off 1/3 of dough, put the rest back to the fridge. Fill the forms with the dough so that the bottom of the form is filled all the way to the sides but there is some space left on top, they should not be flat filled because they rise up as they bake. Put the forms on the baking sheet as you fill them and when the sheet is full, put it in the oven. The cookies will puff up a bit and bubble. They should bake for about 10-12 minuts. When you take them out they will still be soft, they will dry up in the tin. Cool them completely in the tins. Then smack the tins gently against the table surface (cookie down) to get them out and put them in a plate or container with the powdered sugar to coat them. The sugar will help to moisture them with time, which is what you want.