A Sweet Christmas Caress

A Sweet Christmas Caress

Advent scented with vanilla

A Sweet Christmas Caress
They say that Czech Christmas cookies have no parallel in the world and foreigners are simply amazed with their diversity, decoration and even flavours. Many Czech households are scented with vanilla, cinnamon and chocolate starting in late November. Homemakers keep the tradition that there should be as many kinds of Christmas cookies on the table as there are family members who will sit down to the Christmas Eve dinner. Some even bake more than twenty different kinds!

What Cookies Can You Usually Find on the Christmas Table?

Every family has a favourite cookie recipe but if there was a chart in popularity, the vanilla crescents would definitely win. The recipe is passed on from mother to daughter, together with advice on how to make sure the dough does not crumble when shaped, that the crescents keep their shape after baking and that the vanilla sugar adds all its aroma and flavour. Find our recipe here: http://www.czechspecials.cz/recepty/cukrarske-vyrobky/vanilkove-rohlicky

Besides the gingerbread cookies that must soften by Christmas, so you do not break your teeth, the Czechs also bake bear paws, called after the shape of the mould in which they are baked. Spices used in the dough are important. Some families only add cinnamon, others also use ground cloves or ginger. Popular cookies that do not require baking include wasp nests or beehives. Dough is made of ground nuts, sugar and egg whites; it is pushed into a mould, a small dent is made with a finger to be filled with delicious cream, and all of it is covered with a biscuit. Naturally, we must not forget to mention the Linzer cookies that come from Linz in Austria and are based on the typical local torte: Linzer Augen. Today, we have a Christmas cookie recipe with a story for you.

Cookies with a Story

The first Czechoslovak President, T. G. Masaryk, was known was his moderation in food. He loved simple rural meals and had them included in menus for important visitors. However, he did enjoy having some cookies at Christmas and he required one special kind to be served. On his request, special cookies with bits of nuts that his mother used to do were baked at Christmas. You can try to make them this Christmas; they are easy and quick.

Masaryk’s Christmas Cookies
180 g walnuts or hazelnuts
300 g all-purpose flour
100 g powdered sugar
200 g butter
1 egg yolk
Powdered sugar and vanilla sugar for coating

How to make it:
Place the nuts in lukewarm water to soften for at least two hours. Then, chop them up and mix them with other ingredients; make dough. Roll out a few rolls of the dough with a diameter of about 4 cm. Wrap them in cling-film and place them in the refrigerator to harden, ideally overnight. If you are in a hurry, you can put them in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then, slice the rolls to make circles, about 0.5 cm thick, place them onto a baking sheet and bake at 170°C until pink. Coat the cookies with powdered and vanilla sugar mix while still warm. You can eat them right away, but they are also good after a few days.