christmas cookies

by - 16:42



Christmas cookies have always been a very important part at home when growing up, without them there would simply not be any Christmas atmosphere (and the movies we'd watch while eating them). I moved abroad at the age of 21 but this tradition's importance in my life traveled with me and if I wasn't spending Christmas with my family, I'd always bake a few of my favourites. 

Now as a mother myself, I want to continue this Slovak tradition. My childhood favourites will never be missing on our table and I also love that my husband gets to discover this part of me. I'm excited that we get to create our own little Christmas traditions as a Franco-Slovak couple and pass in onto our daughter. 

This year I baked for two big occasions. Livia's birthday and Christmas. With the current situation, I had the time for all the baking, but quite frankly if there was no Covid I would most probably have the time for two max three kinds of cookies. 

The gingerbread were Livia's favourite! She loved making them as much as eating them :) For me it would have to be the bear paws (medvedie labky) and hubby's favourite are the vanilla crescent cookies (vanilkové rozky). So many of you asked me for the recipes so here they come, I hope you'll try one or two to make yourself and will like them as much as we do :) 

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone, in these difficult times, let's focus on the positive and if we have the health, we have all we need. xxx

Every one of these recipes I've done in my new KitchenAid with the paddle attachment. I advise you to sift all the loose ingredients.

BEAR PAWS (medvedie labky)

For this recipe you'll need special baking molds. I looked everywhere to see if where to buy them online but unfortunately it seems like they're not available anywhere. However you can use the madeleine tray to make these too. 

300g plain flour 
250g butter, room temperature
150g powdered sugar
150g walnuts, ground
2-3 spoons of cocoa 
1/4  teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg

vanilla & powdered sugar for dusting 

With the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, or with your fingers, combine all the ingredients together until a smooth dough comes together. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 1/5 hour. 

Preheat the oven to 350F / 190 C. Pinch off a small quantity of dough and press a thin layer into the cookie mold. Fill up 3/4 only as it will rise a bit. Bake for 10 min watching carefully so the edges don't burn. Let them cool down a bit, about 3 min, and shake them out of the mold into the mixed vanilla & powdered sugar mixture. Use a spoon if necessary to pat the form if the paw isn't coming out easily. Once completely cooled, you can store them in a cool and dry place (box) for several week, so you can make them way in advance.  


VANILLA CRESCENT COOKIES (vanilkové rozky)

Traditionally from Austria, these are delicious shortbread cookies made with a high butter content and without the addition of egg. 

250g plain flour 
200g butter, room temperature 
70g powdered sugar 
100g hazelnuts, ground

vanilla & powdered sugar for dusting 

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and knead until throughly combined. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1hour. Preheat the oven to 350F / 190 C.

Pinch of small pieces of the dough and shape them into small crescents (not too small as they might brake easily). Place them onto a baking paper and bake on the middle rack for 10-12 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden. Let them sit for 2 minutes and sift the sugar mixture over the hot crescents. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container in a cool place for several weeks. I like to dust them again with the powdered sugar just before serving. 

GINGERBREAD COOKIES (vianocné medovníky)

These are wonderful to make with your children as the dough isn't fragile so they can play around for quite some time. 

650g plain flour
250g powdered sugar
100g liquid honey
100g butter, room temperature 
3 spoons baking soda
4 eggs
2 spoons cocoa powder
1 tsp seasoning (ground cinnamon, cloves, anise, nutmeg) You can use the 4 spices seasoning (quatre épices) but add a teaspoon of ground anise seasoning if you can.

Sift the flour in a large bowl, add the sifted! sugar, spices and soda. Add butter into the flour mixture, eggs, honey and sifted cocoa and knead to a smooth dough. Wrap in a plastic wrap and leave for at least one hour in the fridge (I usually prepare this dough one day ahead so it stays in the fridge for at least 12 hours).  Preheat the oven to 350F / 190 C.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a thickness of about 3 mm and use gingerbread cutters to cut out cookies. Put them onto a baking sheet covered with baking paper and brush with well beaten egg. Bake for about 8-12 minutes. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container (metal box is best) with some pieces of apple for them to stay soft. This can be made weeks in advance. 

If you'd like to make your own icing for the decoration you'll need to combine 1 egg white, 160g powdered sugar, 1 spoon of lemon juice, 1 spoon of solamyl. Beat with a mixer, adding sugar gradually. 


LINZER COOKIES (linecké kolieska)

There's already a blog post with photos on my blog about Linzer cookies so click here to read it. 

This year I've decided to cut out a few extra shapes without wanting to put them together with a jam. I simply dipped the ends into a melted chocolate mixture and sprinkled some of them for the kids. If you don't have those special cutters with a hole in the middle you can use a simple straw to cut the middle out, but these are available worldwide so you shouldn't have a problem finding them online. 

COOKIES 

This is the only non Slovak recipe but I really like these so decided to add them into the Christmas menu. It's the easiest and fastest recipe you can make.   

Mix together:
80g brown sugar 
80g white sugar
1tsp baking powder
125g butter, room temperature
1 egg yolk               
190g sifted plain flower adding little by little to the mixture 
add whatever you like to the mixture, crushed nuts, chocolate (I use chocolate chips)

Make large balls (I like to use the ice cream scoop spoon to measure them) but don't flatten them. Place 6 balls onto a baking paper (now it's the moment I like to stick a small piece of chocolate in the middle of the ball) and bake for 8 minutes. If you'd like, you can add salt crystals on top when they come out of the oven. 

* found this recipe on @Jaimetoutcheztoi Instagram account 


 And for all of you guys following me on Instagram, you know that I made also the vanilla cupcakes and the Hummingbird cake for Livia's 3rd birthday. Both recipes were absolutely delicious and I will be certainly making them again in the future. 





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