Thursday, December 16, 2010

Vanilla Rolls; Vanilkové rohlíčky

We've started our baking projects this month! First, we decided to try making the traditional Czech cookies that everyone in the country makes and eats all month long! Usually large batches of vanilkové rohlíčky are made and then they are stored at room temperature for consumption throughout the celebration of St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 5; or Angels and Devils Day), Santa Lucia, the Winter Solstice, Christmas, and New Years.

Traditional Czech desserts are not too sweet (thank heavens) due to the former scarcity of sugar. It's a great tradition to continue...a great thing and a good way to prevent the widespread occurrence of diabetes in the population. We would do well to all adopt such a policy!

Vanilla Rolls; Vanilkové rohlíčky

310 g fine flour (we have 3 types of flour here; this is the very fine type)
120 g ground walnuts (we used local ones from the Ceske Budejovice farmer's market)
180 g butter, softened (local maslo, of course)
1 egg
55 g powdered sugar (from the Czech Republic; derived from sugar beets; we saw some fields of it this fall)
1 tsp vanilla or 1 pkt. of vanilla sugar (that's what we have here!)

Roast the walnuts in the oven (350F) until nicely browned.  Don't let them burn!!
Finely grind the walnuts to a smooth ~flour consistency.
Mix the butter and eggs together into a smooth paste. Add in the vanilla or vanilla sugar. Mix. Stir in the flour and egg; then the walnuts. You may need to use your hands to mix it in the final stages as it will be very stiff.
Refrigerate for 6-8 hours until very firm. Here's what it will look like.

 Bring it out of the refrigerator or icebox. Cut into small pieces and roll them on a floured surface with your hand to get a roll that's ~1.5-2" long:

 then, curl them into a crescent shape.
Put them onto wax paper on a baking sheet (no grease needed!).
 Keep going.....this will make 40-50 cookies. You may tire and change the crescents a bit (!).
Bake them for ~5 minutes at 350F (~170C) until they start to brown. Bring them out and cool them a bit.
While still warm, dip each cookie into a bowl of powdered sugar, shake off excess and let them completely cool. Store in an air-tight container or your stomach!  Brew a cup of fruit tea from the Czech Republic, plate these up on a piece of Czech china, and voila!  It's tea time! 

We think you'll find these quite simple but exquisite.

Disclaimer: This blog is not an official University of Minnesota or Fulbright Program blog. The views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations, or the University of Minnesota.

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