Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Czech Sugar Cookies (12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies - Week 9)

It's the day before Thanksgiving, and while everyone else is talking turkey (have you defrosted yours yet?) I'm sharing some of my favorite cookies for the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies. I'll be one the road for most of tomorrow and since many of you will be spending the day in the kitchen, I thought I'd give you a chance to get your holiday cookie fix before things start getting too crazy! Plus, if you start now, you can still serve these unique and tasty cookies at your Thanksgiving table!

A long time ago, when this blog was just in its infancy, I did a post about my culinary ancestry. I've mentioned my Czech heritage a few times since, but never have I been more proud to share an 'ethnic' recipe than I am to share these special cookies.

Warm with vanilla, rich with butter, and covered with a sweet sheen of buttery powdered sugar, these little morsels are like no other cookie I've ever tasted. They may look a little like Mexican Wedding Cakes - or Russian Teacakes, whichever name you prefer - but their texture and taste is entirely different (for one thing, they're nut-free). Dense like a shortbread, but soft and tender like a Snickerdoodle, these cookies have a smooth-as-ice-cream vanilla flavor. But that's not even the best part! A quick dip in powdered sugar prior to baking leaves them glistening with their own special 'icing' when they come out of the oven.

Like my family's favorite Colonial Williamsburg Gingerbread, these cookies take pride of place on our Christmas cookie platter each year, so it only makes sense that I would share them for the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies. I wish I could say that the recipe was a family heirloom, handed down through generations and carried across the Atlantic Ocean by my immigrant ancestors, but the cookie is a relatively new addition to our family collection (and by relatively new, I mean we've been making them almost as long as I've been alive!). It comes from a great little book called The Czech Book, which shares cultural and historical details in addition to recipes. There are a lot of gems in that slim volume, but if you're making these cookies, you're making the best!

Czech Sugar Cookies
Disclaimer: With two cups of butter in the mix, these cookies definitely aren't health food, but they're a great once-in-a-while treat - and the recipe makes a LOT of cookies (about 6 or 7 dozen!) so at least all that buttery goodness is being spread around!

2 cups (4 sticks) butter (the original version calls for half butter, half shortening)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 cups all-purpose flour
extra powdered sugar for dipping

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl (I recommend using a mixer because this doug is stiff!) cream butter and sugars together until smooth and fluffy. Blend in eggs and vanilla extract until smooth. Add dry ingredients incrementally and stir until combined. Dough will be very stiff.

Place additional powdered sugar in a small bowl, for dipping. Roll dough into 1-1/2-inch balls and roll each ball in powdered sugar. Place on an ungreased baking sheet (I used a silicon sheet for easy clean-up) about 1 inch apart. Do not flatten. Bake 10 - 12 minutes or until tops of cookies are cracked and slightly golden.

This post is shared at:
Mrs. Happy Homemaker: Makin' You Crave Monday - Craft-O-Maniac: Monday Link Party - Add a Pinch: Mingle Monday - C.R.A.F.T: Making Monday Marvelous - Home Savvy A to Z: Savvy HomeMade Monday - Skip to My Lou: Made by You Monday - Dittle Dattle: Amaze Me Monday - Someday Crafts: Whatever Goes Wednesday - Sew Much Ado: We Did It! Wednesday - The Thrifty Home: Penny Pinching Party - Sugar and Dots: What I Whipped Up Wednesday - This Chick Cooks: These Chicks Cooked - My Girlish Whims: Your Whims Wednesday - Blue Cricket Design: Show and Tell Wednesday - Polkadots on Parade: Wow Me Wednesday - Southern Lovely: Show & Share - Ginger Snap Crafts: Wow Me Wednesday - Junk in their Trunk: Link it Up Wednesday - Simply Designing: Simply Link Party - Whipperberry: Friday Flair Link Party - Creation Corner: Friday Link Party - Fingerprints on the Fridge: Feature Yourself Friday - Alli-n-Son: Sweet Tooth Friday - Kojodesigns: Friday Fun Finds - Happy Hour Projects: Freestyle Friday - Sweet As Sugar Cookies: Sweets for a Saturday - Too Much Time On My Hands: Get Schooled Saturday - A Well-Seasoned Life: Sweet Indulgences Sunday - Homemaker in Heels: Weekend Craft Soiree


  1. These look awesome! I will definitely be trying these! Love the fact that they are nut-free. Thanks for sharing!

  2. these look so good and simple, something I really want to try.

  3. Yummy! I always love reading your posts and looking at the pictures of all these delicious cookies but then I never make any. One of these days!

  4. Ooh, these look so yummy. Great pictures, too! Thanks for sharing these.

  5. Reading your description of these cookies has convinced my to try them out. The look really yumm!!!

  6. These look and sound wonderful. In the thousands of cookies recipes I have, and I do mean thousands, I don't think I have every run across these. I am certainly going to try them soon. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Sound delicious!! I need to add these to my list!

  8. I'm going to pin this... the way you describe them, they have to be delicious!

  9. These sound divine! I have never seen a recipe like this before. I can't wait to try them!

  10. Nice blog, great post, I'm Kris Angel from Europe i got cheap ticket for Czech Republic from euroafricatravel..

  11. I just made this recipe and am a baker myself. They flattened considerably and taste like snickerdoodles without the cinnamon. Not bad but very plain

    1. see my entry below on how to keep the cookie from going flat.

  12. I tried making this recipe, and they TOTALLY went flat. What can I do to keep them tall? I even tried baking them from a frozen state, and baked them at 375, 350, 325 and 300. All went flat. Can you provide some guidance?

  13. I tried this recipe many different ways, and modified it so the cookie kept its shape:

    1 cup butter, room temp
    ½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
    ½ granulated sugar
    1 egg (extra large), room temp
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 tsp baking powder
    310 g AP flour

    Using a ¾ oz. Scoop, scoop the dough into a bowl of sifted powdered sugar or sugar blend. Roll the balls of dough generously in sugar and place on to a parchment lined half sheet tray, 1 dozen per tray. Do not flatten the dough.

    Chill the tray in the freezer for 15 minutes. This will help the cookies retain their round shape as they bake.

    Bake the cookies for 11-13 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges and cracked on top.

  14. Wow!! These 12 sugary Christmas cookies are so delicious. They look really luscious. Want to have different tasty cookies for my tea party that I will soon throw at one of venue New York. Going to arrange different varieties of tea’s and cupcakes for the party.

  15. These seriously are an anomaly to the human race! : P