Czech recipes of all types are fun for me to make and eat. December 2021 I joined Sokol San Francisco for their Christmas cookie webinar. It was a wonderful class and I chose to make the Vanilkove Rohlicky. The burst of lemon in every bite is so refreshing and delicious. The substitution of almonds for walnuts was delicious as well. I’ve attached a link to the full YouTube video to enjoy!
CZECH VANILKOVE ROHLICKY
240 g flour, sifted
180 g butter, room temperature (increase by 2 tbsp. if using almonds)
120 g ground walnuts (I used almonds)
60 g sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. lemon zest (optional)
vanilla sugar & confectioner’s sugar for coating
Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
Grind nuts to course texture.
Mix ground nuts with sifted flour, egg yolks, sugar and butter (cut into smaller pieces). Add lemon zest. (My cookies were a little dry, so I added juice of 1/2 a lemon).
Work into smooth dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days ahead of baking.
Divide the dough into four pieces. Roll each into a strand about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Cut the strand into small equal-size pieces (about 1/2 inch).
Roll each piece into a ball then flatten between your hands. Press side of cookie inward to make a crescent shape. Don’t make them too long and skinny since they will break very easily.
Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Let cool slightly, but still warm, roll each crescent in a bowl of confectioner’s sugar mixed with vanilla sugar. You can also sift the sugar mixture over the baked cookies.
Lemon Bars in the Spring and Cranberry Lemon Bars for the holidays! With a bag of lemons and a large bag of cranberries on hand, I decided to make these delicious bars. I forgot to sprinkle with powdered sugar, but I was too anxious to taste them. They are tart with a burst of flavor from the cranberries. The bars were a real hit!
Cranberry Lemon Bars
FOR THE CRANBERRY LAYER:
1 (12-ounce/340-gram) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
Start preparing the cranberry layer: Combine the cranberries, sugar and 3 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Zest 2 of the lemons directly into the saucepan; reserve the lemons. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until the berries burst and the mixture is jammy, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve.
Make the crust: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with one large sheet of heavy aluminum foil, making sure there are no gaps or holes, then generously coat with cooking spray.
Whisk the flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the vanilla into the butter, then pour over the flour mixture. Stir until the dough comes together in a mass. Press into an even layer in the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown around the edges and dry and golden on top, 17 to 20 minutes.
While the crust bakes, begin preparing the lemon layer: Squeeze the juice from the 2 reserved zested lemons. You should have 1/2 cup. Squeeze the juice from another lemon, if needed.
Whisk the sugar, flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add the eggs and whisk gently just until incorporated. Add the lemon juice and stir gently with the whisk just until smooth.
Let the crust cool for 5 minutes, then spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the crust. Carefully and slowly pour the lemon mixture on top to create two distinct layers.
Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is set, 18 to 22 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, then refrigerate until cold and firm, at least 2 hours. Using the foil, slide the bars out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into 24 squares, wiping your knife between cuts for clean slices. If desired, sift confectioners’ sugar over the tops just before serving.
Caramel Cookie Bars should be classified as a sin…but a very delicious one! Daughter, Megan, made these to take to friends that recently had a baby and she shared a piece with me. Oh my gosh! They are decadent and perfect for a special occasion.
Caramel Cookie Bars
1 cup salted butter softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips/chopped chocolate use your favorite (I like a combination of milk and semi sweet)
Who doesn’t love a Gingerbread cookie, but bump it up a notch with pumpkin AND chocolate chips! These cookies are delicious and a great fall treat. I added more flour to keep the cookies from spreading, perhaps because of the gluten-free flour I used. I would make these again and try with all-purpose flour and they would equally as good!
Soft Batch Pumpkin Gingersnap Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup butter or vegan butter, softened to room temperature
1-3/4 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/3 cups gluten-free 1:1 or “cup for cup” baking flour blend (I added 1/2 cup additional flour after baking the first pan–see before & after photo below)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger, divided
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels (I used Nestle)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees then line a half sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper and set aside.
Add butter and 1 cup sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer or large glass bowl if using a handheld mixer. Beat until lightly and fluffy. Add pumpkin puree, molasses, and vanilla then beat until combined. Add egg then mix until just combined.
In a separate bowl stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger, ground cloves, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients in two batches, mixing until just combined before adding the second batch. Add dark chocolate morsels then mix until just combined.
Stir together remaining 3/4 cup sugar and 3 teaspoons ground ginger in a bowl then scoop cookie dough by the Tablespoon into the mixture and roll to coat. Place onto prepared baking sheet then bake for 7-8 minutes (7-1/2 minutes were perfect for mine.) Rap the sheet pan on the counter (aka drop the sheet pan from a couple inches above the countertop onto the countertop) then let cookies cool slightly before transferring to cooling racks to cool completely.
Chocolate Crinkles were a favorite cookie of my childhood. Through the years I made them for my kids as well. Now the grandkids can enjoy them and help, especially rolling the dough in the two sugars. We made our cookies bite size and they were perfect. Little bites of chocolate perfection and…bonus…dairy free!
Chocolate Crinkles (Dairy Free)
1 cups all-purpose flour (130 grams)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (65 grams)
1/2 cups brown sugar, packed (165 grams)
¼ cup white sugar (50 grams)
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil (60 milliliters)
2 teaspoon vanilla sugar or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar (100 grams)
1/2 cup powdered sugar (65 grams)
Whisk together flour, cocoa, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.
Add eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Mix using your hands. At first it will seem like there isn’t enough liquids and like the mixture is dry and grainy. This is fine. Keep mixing until you see the mixture develop into dough.
Roll the dough into about 1 inch or 2.5 centimeters size balls.
Roll each ball first in the granulated sugar. Then roll each ball generously in powdered sugar.
Place the balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Add more powdered sugar on top of the balls.
Preheat the oven to 325°F or 160°C . Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
Gluten-free, dairy-free peanut butter cookies with only 4-5 ingredients. Wow! These cookies are amazingly good. I love the salt and sweet combination. If you don’t like the salt, leave it out. My daughter, Megan, made these and the grandkids loved them, as did the adults.
Salted Peanut Butter Cookies
1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups smooth peanut butter (see note at end)
Coarse-grained sea salt, to finish
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the light brown sugar and eggs until incorporated. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Add the peanut butter and mix with a spatula until smooth and completely incorporated, and until no ribbons of peanut butter can be seen. You know the dough is ready when it has the consistency of Play-Doh.
Using a scoop or a spoon, form the dough into 12 approximately 2-inch (2- to 2 1/4-ounce) balls and place them on the prepared rimmed sheet pan. For smaller cookies, use a heaping tablespoon.
Sprinkle the dough balls lightly with coarse-grained sea salt just before baking. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, turning the rimmed sheet pan once halfway through baking (for smaller cookies, bake for 16 to 18 minutes). When finished, the cookies will be lightly golden and cracked on top. Let cool completely before serving.
You can bake these cookies as soon as the dough is prepared, but they will retain their shape better if you freeze them for 15 minutes before baking.
Chef’s Tip: While the all-natural stuff works just fine, Skippy is our peanut butter brand of choice for this recipe as we’ve found it retains the dough shape best. These tasty cookies are gluten-free!
Dan sent the recipe for these delicious cookies to daughter, Megan, and we loved them! They are chewy and ‘healthy’ or so we told ourselves. It’s wonderful to share our recipes with family and friends! Thanks, Dan!
Dan’s Oatmeal Cookies
1 pound margarine
2 cups brown sugar (packed)
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 cups uncooked oatmeal
2 teaspoons salt
8 oz. walnuts (optional)
6 oz. dried cranberries or cherries (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
Combine all dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture.
Drop cookies onto cookie sheets and bake until golden brown.
Valentine’s Day brings back memories of making Valentine’s Day cards, making and eating sweet treats, and enjoying wonderful dinners with those I love. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be an expensive, extravagant day. It’s really about being with or talking to those you love. I often express my love through cooking, as my Mother did.
These colorful cookies were fun to make, to share and to eat. Share a batch with those you love and enjoy the day!
VALENTINE’S DAY M&M COOKIES
8tablespoonssalted butter,melted 1/2cupbrown sugar 1/4cupgranulated sugar 1largeegg 2teaspoonsvanilla extract 1 2/3cupsall purpose flour 1teaspoonbaking soda 1/2teaspoonsalt 3/4 cup Valentine’s mix M&Ms
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (I used a Ghiradelli white chocolate bar, chopped)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until well combined.
Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
Dump in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined. Dough will be soft.
Stir in the candy and white chocolate chips.
Use a large cookie scoop to scoop out 12 balls of dough.
Bake for 10 minutes exactly. Do not overbake. Cookies may look a bit underdone, but they will set up as they cool.
Let cookies set on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before eating.
Czech and Slovak heritage is of great interest to me, given my Father’s family roots. Late 2020, I participated in ‘Czech & Slovak Christmas’ offered through Global Slovakia Academy. It was a wonderful class, offering education of the Slovak advent and holidays, celebrations and food.
The Slovak Honey Cookies are traditional Christmas treats and I had to try them. They are very similar to our traditional Gingerbread cookies, using honey instead of Molasses. They are absolutely delicious and a new favorite for the holidays.
SLOVAK HONEY COOKIES
3 cups (400 g) plain flour
1 cup (140 g) icing sugar
4 tbsp (60 g) butter softened
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
2 tsp of gingerbread spice mix
3 tbsp clear honey
Preheat your oven to 180 C/ 350 F. Line a baking tray with paper.
Sift together the flour, icing sugar, soda bicarbonate and spices.
Add butter and honey to the dry ingredients along with the eggs, and mix well to form a soft dough.
Wrap in a cling film and leave overnight in the refrigerator to chill.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a thickness of half a centimeter.
Cut out with your desired cookie cutter and place well apart on the baking sheet.
Bake for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Decorate with icing if you wish.
1 egg white
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice.
Whisk the ingredients together until stiff peaks form.
Add more sugar if needed and have patience.
Spoon your icing into a sandwich bag, twist the bag tightly until the icing wedges into one corner, and then poke or cut a tiny hole into the corner. Make sure your cookies are completely cool before beginning to decorate.
Daughter Megan found this recipe and shared this mega cookie with me. I have never heard of Levain Bakery in NYC but if I ever get back to the City, I will try to go! The cookies are delicious!
A batch of these cookies would make a wonderful Father’s Day present, or if you aren’t a baker, you could order them from the bakery! Slightly warmed in the microwave, topped with vanilla ice cream, it would be a wonderful dessert for two or more!
LEVAIN BAKERY CHOCOLATE CHIP CRUSH COOKIES
1cupCold Buttercut into small cubes 1cupBrown Sugar 1/2cupSugar 2Eggs 1 1/2cupsCake Flour* 1 1/2cupsFlour 1teaspoonCornstarch 3/4teaspoonBaking Soda 3/4teaspoonSalt 2cupsChocolate Chips 2cupsWalnutsroughly chopped
Preheat oven to 410 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together cold cubed butter, brown sugar, and sugar for 4 minutes or until creamy.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one.
Stir in flours, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined to avoid overmixing. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
Separate dough into large balls and place on lightly colored cookie sheet. They are bigger than you think! You will fit 4 cookies on one large cookie sheet. The dough makes 8 extra large cookies.
Bake for 9-12 minutes or until golden brown on the top. Let them rest for at least 10 minutes to set.
*can substitute all-purpose flour for cake flour
*Levain Bakery has stated they don’t use vanilla extract in their cookies. If you would like to add vanilla extract, I would suggest adding 1 teaspoon when adding the eggs to the batter.