Božićni keksi (Croatian Christmas Cookies)

Christmas is really the only time of year that you will find cookies in my house and these božićni keksi are wonderful in both their simplicity and taste. As is the case with many of our desserts, these cookies feature ground walnuts and are quite simply delicious. Its what really sets them apart from other cookies, but if you have nut allergies or prefer to substitute with another type–such as hazelnut or almond–feel free. The fresh lemon rind is also crucial–emphasis on the fresh.

You can shape them as you like, using various cookie cutters. Typically you will see them as linzeri, thumbprints, or vanilin kiflice (in the shape of a horseshoe/crescent or hugging the filling). As for the jam, I usually use apricot, plum, raspberry, and/or cherry. Or you can even use leftover poppyseed or walnut filling, if also making nut rolls.

  • 4 packets of vanilla sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup of ground walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 125 grams of butter, cold
  • jam of your preference

Sift the  first four ingredients into a large bowl. Next make a well and add the yolks. Start to incorporate the yolks and flour with a fork, keeping the consistency smooth, then add the butter (cut into smaller pieces). Using your hands, work the butter, egg, and flour mixture together thoroughly. Wrap in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.

Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out on a floured surface. Cut into the shapes you desire either with cookie cutters or a glass. If making linzeri, make sure to have an equal number of  “bottoms” and “tops.” If making kiflice, place a little bit of filling in the middle and fold two sides onto one another, as if hugging the filling. If making crescent shaped kiflice, simply roll out into little ropes or snakes and shape.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until they start to turn a little brown. Make sure not to overcook them or they will get hard. When they cool dust with powdered sugar.

Tip: If making linzeri, place a bit of the filling in the middle and with a butter knife spread a thin layer of the jam to the edges of the cookie, but still maintain the majority in the center. This will ensure the filling comes up through the middle and does not ooze out the sides.



3 thoughts on “Božićni keksi (Croatian Christmas Cookies)

    1. One packet is about 1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar. I’ve only ever seen it sold in packets (Dr. Oetker brand is very common) like this at any supermarket: I usually use a Croatian brand’s (Podravka), but any will do. If you don’t have access to it you can just substitute it for regular sugar. Or if you are ambitious (and maybe for next year’s cookies), you can make it yourself by placing a a few vanilla beans in a jar of sugar for a few weeks. The sugar just needs to take on the smell of the vanilla, not the flavor.

      1. Thank you!! I would have never known that on my own. I will try to make that vanilla sugar for next years cookies for sure. I may be able to find this locally….thanks again!

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