Croatian Christmas Cookies!

It’s my favorite baking day of the year – the day that we bake our Croatian Christmas cookies!!! You may have read in my “About Me” section that this is a very important tradition on my Mom’s side of the family, and this is very near and dear to my heart. Since I was a little girl, Mom and I would head over to Grandma’s house, and we would spend the day baking these recipes that the women in my family brought over from Croatia. The recipes are found in countless, handwritten books in Croatian. Many of these recipes have been adapted by my family over time, which is why we keep most of the recipes close to us (meaning sadly, I can’t share all these yummy treats!). My Great Grandma, Grandma, Mom and I spend the entire day baking together while my Grandpa “supervises” hehe.

Since Aaron and I recently got back from our Honeymoon and were unable to make it back to Grandma’s in Michigan, Mom traveled here for her and I to bake together in my new pretty kitchen! While it’s always best sharing this tradition with my family, it was nice to make a memory like this in my own kitchen, in my own home – but next year, it’s back to Grandma’s!

The very best part of this tradition every year, is that we make dozens and dozens of cookies to share with ALL of our loved ones – family, friends, co-workers… you name it. It brings me so much joy to give these cookies out every year and to watch the excitement as they take a bite and appreciate these unique cookies. When I bake these cookies, that’s what I’m thinking of – how I can’t wait to share them & make tastebuds happy! ❤

Every year, we stick to our favorites that everyone enjoys which are: Jam-Filled Kiflice (crescent roll-up), Walnut-Filled Kiflice (crescent roll-up), Zabo Snite (layered bar) and Pracne (type of cookie formed in a mold).

Here’s a fun little Croatian pronunciation lesson 🙂

  • Kiflice (key-flee-say)
  • Zabo Snite (ja-bow schneet-tay)
  • Pracne (prat-chna)

This year, instead of the Pracne, we’ll be making Kiflice Od Badema (almond crescent-moons). We haven’t made this one in the past few years, so Mom and I decided to bring it back!

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Mom gave me the green light to share a couple recipes with you which I’m super excited about, so I’ll be sharing 2 recipes here. First, we’re going to get started on the Kiflice Od Badema.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 2 sticks cold butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Before we begin, flour your Spinella board (I swear by this for baking), or smooth countertop in preparation for the dough.

  • Preheat oven to 300.
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Add your flour, ground almonds, sugar and vanilla sugar together on your board.
  • Cut the butter into small cubes and work them into the dry ingredients.
  • Roll and knead into smooth dough.
  • Grab small chunks of dough, just smaller than the size of a golf ball and roll it between your palms, lengthening the dough.
  • Place it on your baking sheet and form it into a crescent-moon shape.
  • Bake for 12 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes.
  • While they cookies are still warm, sift powdered sugar over top – or you can roll the cookie in a bowl of powdered sugar.

Look at these pretty, snowy crescent-moons!

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The second recipe I’ll be sharing is for our Walnut-Filled Kiflice.

Filling Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups ground walnuts

Dough Ingredients:

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

To bake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. To prepare the filling, beat the egg whites until stiff, slowly adding the sugar.
  4. Slowly fold in the walnuts.
  5. For the dough, cream the butter until smooth, then add the yolks and mix until well combined.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt then gradually add to the butter mixture.
  7. Kneed into dough.
  8. Divide dough into at least 4 balls and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, when you’re ready to roll the dough out, allow it to come up to room temperature.
  9. On a floured surface, roll out each ball, 1 at a time until thin – (if your dough is too thick, there won’t be a good balance between dough and filling).
  10. Cut the dough as you would when you’re slicing up a pie – about 1.5 inches in width for each slice (you can make them smaller or larger if you prefer).
  11. Place the filing in the center of each slice, then roll them up like a crescent and place on the baking sheet.
  12. Bake for 12 minutes, until golden brown on the edges.
  13. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  14. Sift powdered sugar over the warm cookies, or you can roll them in a bowl of powdered sugar).

And here they are!

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Below is the Jam-Filled Kiflice that we make. We use a different type of dough, fill them with an Eastern-European plum jam. They’re best served warm! Mmm Mm Mm.

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These tasty bars are our Pracne cookies and my Great Grandma & Grandma are experts at making these to perfection, but I must say – Mom’s getting pretty good too!

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Now it’s time for the best part, packaging them up and gifting them to our loved ones to spread our love and wishes for a healthy, happy, loving holiday season! Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to you & yours! ❤

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Baking with Soul

www.bakingwithsoul.com

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