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 Yogurt Cake is a moist, delicious cake that can be served on its own or served with fresh berries. I must admit I messed up the recipe and it still turned out great. The recipe read in such a way that I thought the 1/3 cup lemon juice was added to the cake batter. Yikes! I quickly added another 2/3 cup flour to the batter and crossed my fingers. It turned out just fine and added more intense lemon flavor to the cake. I poked holes in the lemon cake (much like my Rum Cake) to assure that the lemon juice/sugar mixture penetrated the cake. I liked the result but that’s the reason for the holes in the cake. I added the glaze and had to take a taste! So, so good. I froze half of the bread and it was good as fresh when I pulled it out of the freezer.
Lemon Yogurt Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided (reserve 1/3 cup for step 3)
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (reserve for step 3)
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.
Hot Mulled Wine reminds me of Christmas, Madrigal dinners, and travel. The aroma of the simmering wine is wonderful and sipping it is even better. While my paternal line is Czech, mulled wine was not a tradition in our home.
Wishing you a Veselé Vánoce (Merry Christmas) andŠťastný Nový Rok! (Happy New Year)
2 bottles of red wine (we use Cabernet Sauvignon)
5-6 cinnamon sticks
6-8 whole cloves
4 whole black peppercorns
4 allspice berries
4-6 star anise
zest of one tangerine (use fruit)
zest of one lemon (discard fruit)
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup raisins
tangerine slices from zested tangerine
2 apples, sliced (we used green apples)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup raw honey
1 cup apple cider (optional)
2 Tbsp. Czech Rum (I used Cointreau)
Combine all ingredients in a simmering pot. Simmer until hot. Serve.
There are folks who ladle it into a cup, fruits and all, but we prefer to strain it and just serve the hot wine with a cinnamon stick in the cup as a garnish.
It is at it’s best when served immediately after mulling but this delicious drink will keep fairly hot even when taken off the heat for about 30 minutes. The leftover mulled wine (if you have any) can be reheated in a saucepan on the stovetop. If you wish to keep some for the next day, allow it to cool completely and then pour into glass bottle or mason jar, closing tightly and refrigerating.
Lemon Garlic Kale Salad is a favorite salad, especially when I had fresh kale from my garden but it is wonderful with kale from the grocery store, as well. My good friend, Maribeth, introduced this recipe to me a few years ago and it continues to be a favorite.
Lemon Garlic Kale Salad
2 cups almond slices, toasted
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon Juice (2-4 lemons)
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat side of a knife, peeled and left whole
10 to 12 ounces washed and dried kale leaves, thick stems removed
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
In a toaster oven or oven, toast almonds until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, combine lemon juice and 1 heaping teaspoon salt.
Slowly whisk in olive oil.
Add garlic cloves and set aside to steep.
Working in batches, cut the kale into thin ribbons: gather a large handful of leaves, bunch together tightly, and use the other hand to slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces. This need not be done very precisely or neatly; the idea is to end up with a kind of slaw. (Recipe can be made up to this point 1 day ahead. Keep kale and dressing refrigerated separately.)
Place chopped kale in a very large bowl. Sprinkle with almonds and then cheese.
Remove and discard garlic cloves from dressing. Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss. Taste for dressin and salt and add more as needed, tossing to coat thoroughly. Serve within 1 hour.
NOTE: I typically make a much smaller salad. The dressing keeps well in the refrigerator. I have also minced the garlic and added to the dressing.
Beat first 5 ingredients on medium speed until blended, 2-3 minutes (do not overbeat).
Whisk lemon juice and sugar in a shallow bowl until sugar is dissolved. Quickly dip 8 ladyfingers into lemon juice, allowing excess to drip off; place in a single layer in an 8-in. square dish. Spread a third of the mascarpone mixture over top. Repeat layers twice.
Sprinkle with lemon zest. Refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours before serving.
2 cups granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
optional: confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished bars out (makes cutting easier!). Set aside.
Make the crust: Mix the melted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir to completely combine. The dough will be thick. Press firmly into prepared pan, making sure the layer of crust is nice and even. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven. Using a fork, poke holes all over the top of the warm crust (not all the way through the crust). A new step I swear by, this helps the filling stick and holds the crust in place. Set aside until step 4.
Make the filling: Sift the sugar and flour together in a large bowl. Add the eggs and lemon juice and whisk until completely combined.
Pour filling over warm crust. Bake the bars for 22-26 minutes or until the center is relatively set and no longer jiggles. (Give the pan a light tap with an oven mitt to test.) Remove bars from the oven and cool completely at room temperature. I usually cool them for about 2 hours at room temperature, then stick in the refrigerator for 1-2 more hours until pretty chilled. I recommend serving chilled.
Once cool, lift the parchment paper out of the pan using the overhang on the sides. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares before serving. For neat squares, wipe the knife clean between each cut. Cover and store leftover lemon bars in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Freezing Instructions: Lemon bars can be frozen for up to 3-4 months. Cut the cooled bars (without confectioners’ sugar topping) into squares, then place onto a baking sheet. Freeze for 1 hour. Individually wrap each bar in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place into a large bag or freezer container to freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator, then dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. It started with fried Eggplant in my Mother’s kitchen, and through the years I have experienced eggplant in many ways. I have made Ina Garten’s Eggplant Spread dozens of times. This recipe is more like baba ganoush, with that wonderful smoky flavor. The dip would be wonderful served with a fresh Greek Salad.
SMOKY EGGPLANT DIP
Makes about 2 cups
2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound each) 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, or to taste 6 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste), well-stirred if a new container 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste, if desired Pinch of cayenne or aleppo pepper Pinch or two of ground cumin 2 tablespoons well-chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided Toasted sesame seeds or za’atar for garnish (optional)
Heat oven to 375°F.
Brush a baking sheet or roasting pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt.
Prick eggplants a few times with a fork or tip of a knife. Over a gas flame, grill or under a broiler, evenly char the skin of your eggplants. I like mine quite smoky and like to leave no purple visible. Transfer to a cutting board, and when cool enough to handle, trim off stem and cut lengthwise. Place cut side down on prepared baking sheet and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until very, very tender when pressed. Let cool to room temperature.
Next Step Option 1: Food Processor: In a blender or food processor: Scrape eggplant flesh from skin and into the work bowl. Add tahini, lemon, cayenne, cumin and 1 tablespoon parsley. Blend in short bursts (pulses) until combined but still coarsely chopped.
Taste and adjust ingredients if needed. You may wish to add more salt and lemon.
To serve: Spoon into a bowl and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Scatter with second tablespoon of parsley, and some toasted sesame seeds or za’atar, if desired. Serve with pita wedges or naan.
Raspberries may very well be my favorite fruit and would certainly be on my ‘last dinner’ list. This recipe started out to be Lemon Blueberry Bars as the original recipe stated. Midway through making the bars, I realized the frozen blueberries were off, so quickly switched to raspberries that I had in the freezer. Frankly, I love the results. Even the nutmeg called for in the original recipe suited the raspberries.
Another new favorite!
LEMON RASPBERRY STREUSEL BARS
yield: 24 BARS
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
pinch of salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups fresh raspberries (I thawed frozen raspberries)
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 9×13-inch pyrex pan with nonstick spray.
Prepare the crust: In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, zest and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg and vanilla together; stir into the crumb mixture until a dough forms. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly. (Keep the oven on)
Sprinkle raspberries over the crust. In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup sugar and nutmeg; sprinkle over the raspberries.
Prepare the topping: In a medium bowl, use a rubber spatula to cream together the 5 tablespoons butter and brown sugar until smooth. Mix in the flour, so that the mixture is crumbly, like streusel. Sprinkle over the raspberry layer.
When yellow squash and zucchini are plentiful and I’ve made every possible recipe, I go to the web and try to find something different to make. This bread was a phenomenal find. I’ve always been fond of lemon cake and this bread is addictive. No, you can’t have just one slice, I guarantee it!
LEMON YELLOW SUMMER SQUASH BREAD
There is no reason you couldn’t substitute zucchini in this recipe; would be pretty with the green zucchini and yellow lemon zest! I did not make the Sweet Roasted Lemon Garnish).
Serves: 2 loaves
1 cup melted butter
2 cups sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups grated summer squash
For the Glaze:
1 Tbsp. melted butter
½ cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
For the Sweet Roasted Lemon Garnish (edible and optional!):
Grease and flour 2 regular loaf pans or 4 mini pans.
Mix butter, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla until well blended.
Add eggs one at a time and once all are incorporated beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Sift flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and mix thoroughly.
Add squash and stir just to blend.
Pour into prepared pans and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes for small loaf pans or 1 hour for regular size loaf pans.
Allow the pan to cool; remove the bread and place top down on a serving plate (makes for a nice presentation for the glaze and lemons).
Make the Roasted Lemons:
Cook lemon slices in a medium saucepan of boiling water 2 minutes to remove bitterness. Drain and pat dry.
Gently toss lemon slices with sugar, and 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium bowl. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until lemons are no longer wet and only slightly colored, 15–20 minutes. Let cool.
Make the Glaze:
Combine the melted butter and powdered sugar and stir until smooth; add the lemon juice and lemon zest and stir to combine.
Add water or milk if necessary to get the right consistency.
Pour the glaze over the top; covering it completely and letting excess dribble down the sides.
Fresh fruit salad in winter is a real treat. This recipe is delicious, combining several fruits including apples, kiwi, blackberries, pomegranate, bananas and Mandarin oranges. The dressing is fresh and tasty, delivering a nice side to compliment any meal.
WINTER FRUIT SALAD WITH LEMON POPPY SEED DRESSING
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. poppy seeds
Combine all ingredients and mix well.
8 mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented (I used Cuties)
4 apples, diced
4 ripe kiwis peeled and diced
4 bananas, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cup pomegranate arils (from about 1 large)
1-2 cups blackberries (I added to the recipe)
Combine all salad ingredients. Toss with dressing and serve immediately.