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Honey Cookies (Medovniky) in fun fall colors!

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It’s almost too late for these cookies.  Around here the leaves are turning brown and falling fast!  The good news is that these incredibly flavorful cookies can be cut into any shape for any season!

These are a traditional Slovak cookie, generally made around Christmas.  When I traveled to Slovakia I fell in love with a traditional cake called Medovnik (if you want to see my attempt at it, click here).  When I came across this recipe on the Slovak Cooking blog, I knew I had to try them.

They are wonderful.  A little like honey graham crackers, a little like gingerbread cookies, a little like spice cake… an incredibly unique cookie that is SO easy to roll and cut out (I can’t stand sticky, messy cut-out cookie dough!)  They filled my house with wonderful fall scents when I baked them and I will definitely be making them again.  Here’s the recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ¼ sticks (5 oz.) of unsalted butter
  • 3 ½ tablespoons of honey
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon ginger
  • ½ tablespoon cloves

DIRECTIONS:

  • Heat the sugar, water and honey in a sauce pan until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in the butter, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
  • Once the butter has melted, let the mixture cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  • Pour the sugar-spice mixture over it and mix well.
  • Knead lightly to form a smooth dough.
  • Wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour. (the recipe called for refrigeration, but my dough was just perfect to roll out immediately.)
  • Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
  • Roll dough out on a board dusted with flour.
  • Cut cookies in whatever shapes you want and place on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 5-8 minutes (they bake fast, so keep an eye on them).
  • Cool and frost with your favorite glaze or frosting (I used Royal Icing, click here for the recipe and for directions on how to use it)

My thoughts:  I really do love these cookies.  The recipe was so different than any other cookie recipe I’ve made before.  I have a love/hate relationship with royal icing.  I hate the 12 years it takes to frost my cookies, but then I LOVE the finished result.  However you ice them, these cookies are a unique addition to your cookie recipe collection.  Enjoy!  ~r

Other recipes you might enjoy: (just click on the image to see the recipe)

 

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Medovnik Honey Cake

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Finally- I took the time to try making this wonderful layered dessert from the Czech Republic.  I had the most amazing piece of this dessert with my friend Angie on a terrace overlooking the city of Prague and decided then and there that I had to try making it.  There are many recipes online for this cake and I think I read through them all- trying to pick one that I thought might duplicate the wonderful dessert I tried in Prague.  The one I chose was from en.ptitchef.com and since I made quite a few changes to it, this recipe is mostly original.

INGREDIENTS:

For cake layers:

  • 1cup of butter or margarine
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2c. sugar
  • 3 T. (dark!) honey
  • 1 T. baking soda
  • 3 c. flour

For fillings:

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1c. finely chopped walnuts (I used pecans- I like them better!)
  • 2T. flour
  • 1/2c. milk
  • 1/4c. Crisco
  • 1/4 c. butter or margarine
  • 3/4c. sugar
  • 1/2t. vanilla
  • pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:

Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Melt butter completely in microwave or over stove.
  • Whisk in eggs
  • Gradually add sugar, honey, baking soda and flour, mix until smooth.
  • Place sheets of parchment paper on baking sheets and trace circle around a cake pan (I used 8 inch and fit two per baking sheet)
  • Spoon batter into each circle and spread out thin until circle is filled- like a giant pancake- PAST the lines you traced.
  • Bake for 7-10 minutes until golden brown.  Watch it closely as it goes from uncooked to golden very quickly.
  • Slide layers off sheet by pulling parchment paper onto a cool counter and allow layers to cool.
  • Repeat this until you have 6 layers.
  • Using a cake pan, cut each layer into a circle and pull away excess cake from edges (save this in a separate bowl). Gently peel away parchment paper from bottom of each layer as you assemble the cake.
  • Put excess cake edges into a food processor and chop into fine crumbs.

Fillings:

  • Combine sweetened condensed milk with finely chopped nuts (this is your 1st filling)
  • Cook 2T. flour and 1/2 c. milk together over stovetop until thick and smooth.  Cool completely. Add Crisco, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt and whip this together until light and fluffy. (this is your second filling)

Assembling Cake:

  • Place one layer of cake on a serving plate.
  • Top with cream filling and spread to edges.
  • Place another layer of cake on top of cream filling.
  • Top with sweetened condensed milk/nut layer and spread to edges.
  • Repeat this until all cake layers are used.  You should use all of cream filling and about 1/2 of condensed milk filling.
  • Spread remaining condensed milk/nut filling over top and sides of cake.
  • Press chopped cake crumbs into top and sides of cake.
  • Refrigerate and serve!
My thoughts:  I wish I’d used dark honey – Prague Medovnik had a wonderful molasses flavor and it was a dark cake.  I think a darker honey would help match this look and flavor.  I like the cream filling (borrowed it from a cake recipe my grandma makes) but it doesn’t match the cream in the Prague cake well….further experimentation is needed 🙂  I will edit this post if I come up with a better filling.  The filling in Prague was almost like the filling inside a Hostess Cupcake– if any of you have a recipe that comes close to this kind of cream filling let me know!!  This is an incredibly UNIQUE cake.  It got rave reviews among my friends and I loved it– I will definitely be making this again!

Medovnik in Prague

My version of Medovnik

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