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Dining & Drinking

Christmas Cookie Recipes: Linzer Cookies and Vanilla Crescents

Published on December 23th, 2015 in Dining & Drinking

  • Linzer Cookies

  • Linzer Cookies

  • Making the Vanilla Crescents

  • Vanilla Crescents

 

This post first appeared on the Taste of Prague blog on December 18, 2014. To read the original post see here. To see our own 2014 post on Christmas Cookie Mania, complete with a recipe for white wine cookies, see here.

 

One of the most important, and surely the most sinful, Czech Christmas traditions is the baking of Christmas cookies. Every family has a repertoire of “tried and tested” cookies that can always be found on the Christmas table. These recipes for Linzer cookies and vanilla crescents from Zuzi’s grandma are two of them:

 

 

LINZER COOKIES

 

 

 

Ingredients

 

For the cookies:

- 250g all purpose flour

- 150g whole blanched almonds

- 240g unsalted colder butter

- 120g powder white sugar (divided to 40 and 80 grams)

- 2 egg yolks

- pinch of salt

- Zest of one small organic lemon

- Seeds from one vanilla bean

 

For the filling:

- 100g sour jam without lumps or seeds

- 2 cl shot of fragrant alcohol

 

 

Preparation

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

 

Place the almonds on a baking sheet and bake for about 9 minutes.

 

In the meantime, sift the flour into a bowl and then stir in the salt and lemon zest and set the bowl aside.

 

When the almonds brown slightly, remove them from oven and let them cool. Then place them into a food processor and grind finely. Add 40 g of sugar and grind the almonds again.

 

Put the butter and the rest of sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat (on moderate speed) together until the mixture is light and fluffy. It usually takes about 2 minutes. Then add vanilla beans and egg yolks and beat the mixture again for about half a minute. Finally, put in the ground almonds and the flour mix and everything together again for about 30 seconds.

 

Divide the dough in half, cover each half with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

 

The next day, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Cover three baking trays with parchment.

 

Take one half of the dough out of the fridge and cut off about a quarter of it. Roll out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 0.5 cm (1/5 of an inch) thick. Then cut out cookies – remember you want to sandwich these cookies together, so choose only symmetrical shapes, but you can, of course, use bigger cutters and make the hole in the center with a smaller cutter. You’ll have fewer cookies but they will be bigger and you’ll be done sooner!

 

Cut the cookies and put them on the baking sheets one by one, leaving about 2 cm (1 inch) between cookies. Repeat this process for all the dough. When the baking sheets are filled, refrigerate for about 10 minutes before baking.

 

Bake the cookies for about 6-12 minutes (depending on the size of your shapes). Look for a nice, yellowish color with a very light brown around the edges before removing cookies from the oven.
Leave them to cool; then mix a shot of fragrant alcohol with the jam.

 

When the cookies are cooled, spread a thin layer of jam on the bottom surface of the full cookie. Place the cookie with the hole on top of the jam and gently sandwich the two cookies together. You can add a little bit of jam to fill in the hole in the cookie with a spoon.

 

I like these cookies the best when softened, which takes about a day. If you prefer a crunchy structure, fill in the jam on the day of serving.

 

 

VANILLA CRESCENTS

 

  

Ingredients

 

- 50g powdered sugar
- 70g roasted, peeled and finely ground hazelnuts
- 50g finely ground walnuts
- 230g fine flour
- 200g softened butter
- Vanilla sugar, for coating

 

 

Preparation

 

Combine all of the ingredients together and knead until they form a dough that does not stick. Wrap the dough in baking paper and leave overnight in the refrigerator.

 

Preheat the oven to 165°C (330°F). Line a couple of medium sized trays with parchment paper.

 

Remove the dough from the fridge, half it (leaving the other half in the fridge) and start rolling the crescents. Rolling and shaping the crescents is incredibly important. My grandma says: “The perfect crescents have to be beautiful, small and one just like the other.”

 

When you are happy with the crescents, put them on the tray and when it is full, put the tray into the oven and let the crescents bake for about 8-10 minutes, until they get a bit pinkish.

 

Remove from the oven and let cool for about 3 minutes before coating them in vanilla sugar.

 

 

 

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