Czech Christmas wouldn’t be complete without vanilla crescent cookies. In Czech, they are called vanilkové rohlíčky, our family loves them, and they are the first type of Christmas cookies that disappears from the table!
What Are Vanilkové rohlíčky?
Vanilkové rohlíčky are a type of Christmas cookies shaped like crescents. They’re made of butter-rich dough with ground nuts. Finished vanilla crescents are coated in powdered sugar mixed with vanilla sugar.
Vanilla crescents, according to this recipe, need some time to soften. Bake them at least 10 days before Christmas!
Taste vanilkové rohlíčky and other typical Czech Christmas cookies in Prague during Advent! Prague with its magical atmosphere belongs to the best Christmas destinations in Europe.
- Unsalted butter; softened at room temperature
- All-purpose flour; in the Czech we use „hladká mouka“
- Egg yolks
- Powdered sugar; both for the dough and for the coating of the crescents after they’re finished
- Vanilla essence
- Lemon zest; freshly grated from organic lemons would be the best
- Ground nuts; walnuts, blanched almonds, hazelnuts
Best Nuts for Vanilkové rohlíčky
Czechs usually use ground walnuts for making their vanilla crescents because they’re popular and readily available in Czech stores.
If you want your vanilkové rohlíčky more fine-grained, you can use ground blanched almonds or simply almond flour.
It’s best to grind your nuts at home, right before you start making the vanilla crescents.
For a more intensive and refine taste, roast them shortly on a pan. You’ll be surprised how good the crescents taste with lightly roasted walnuts!
The preparation of the dough for the vanilkové rohlíčky is straightforward. You mix all the ingredients, and the dough is done.
I personally don’t use any kitchen mixers. I use my hands – an age-old kitchen instrument 😉 Don’t knead the dough too hard; the result should be soft and non-sticky.
Make a ball from the dough and wrap it in a food plastic folie. Let it rest in your fridge at least for 2 hours, but ideally overnight.
🍪 More Czech Christmas cookies:
- Linecké cukroví – Czech Linzer cookies
- Masarykovo cukroví – Masaryk’s cookies
- Vosí hnízda - non baked Beehives cookies
Forming a Great-looking Vanilla Crescent
Making a good-looking vanilkový rohlíček can be tricky. But don’t worry, even if you don’t manage to make the right shape, it’s always going to taste great!
- Once you take the dough out of the fridge, split it into 2-3 pieces. Slowly knead each piece with your hands until it softens. Then, roll the piece out into a 1.½ inch (3 cm) thick loaf.
- Slice the loaf into pieces about ½ inch (1,5 cm) thick.
- Form each piece into a crescent shape on your kitchen worktop.
- I use three fingers on my right hand to make the crescents – index finger, middle finger, and ring finger (use the left hand if you’re left-handed, obviously).
- Roll each piece of dough into a strip with these three fingers, press a bit more with the index, and ring fingers, so you have thinner edges. Then make a horseshoe shape, and you’re done!
HINT: You can also use a silicon crescent cookies mold. Just press the dough pieces into the crescent-shaped holes. When the mold is full, bake vanilkové rohlíčky in the oven as further described.
The crescent cookies are baked on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Once your tray is full of fully-formed crescents, put it into an oven preheated to 340 °F (170 °C).
Let the rohlíčky bake for 12-15 minutes until they turn light golden brown on the bottom. Take the tray out of the oven once they’re done, and let them cool for a while.
Rohlíčky are very fragile after taking them out of the oven. If you tried to remove them from the baking sheet immediately, they could easily break.
After 5 minutes, take each crescent carefully and coat it in vanilla-powdered sugar.
Vanilla sugar is readily available in the Czech Republic, you can buy a sack in every grocery store. A sack is mixed with powdered sugar and rohlíčky are coated in the resultant sugar mix.
I sometimes make home-made vanilla sugar from vanilla bean.
Put some powdered sugar into a screw-top jar together with a vanilla bean, and seal it.
The vanilla smell will pass into the sugar after a few days, you can shake the jar to spread it, and home-made vanilla sugar is ready for your sweet-smelling baking.
This article is all about Czech Christmas food: What do Czechs eat at Christmas?
Our German and Austrian neighbors also love vanilla crescents. They’re called Vanillekipferl in the German language.
Vanilla crescents need few days to soften; it’s always a good idea to make them ahead.
Once you coat baked rohlíčky in the vanilla sugar, put them into a cookie box and let them rest.
You can freeze vanilkové rohlíčky, if you have some of them left.
Vanilkové rohlíčky – Czech Vanilla Crescent Cookies
- 2 and ⅓ cups (300 g) all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup (40 g) powdered sugar
- 1 cup (100 g) ground nuts (walnuts, blanched almonds)
- 1 and ¾ stick (200 g) butter (unsalted)
- 2 egg yolks
- lemon zest
- vanilla essence
- vanilla-powdered sugar (to coate rohlíčky)
- Knead the sifted flour, sugar, nuts, butter, yolks, and lemon zest into a smooth and compact dough.
- Wrap it in food folie and let it rest in a fridge for 2 hours minimum, but ideally overnight.
- Form a loaf about 2 inches / 5 cm in diameter, and slice it into equally-sized slices.
- Form stripes from them, shape them like crescents and bake on a tray lined with baking parchment at 340 °F / 170 °C (preheated oven) for 10-15 minutes. Baked rohlíčky should get light gold.
- Take the try with baked crescents out of the oven, let vanilkové rohlíčky rest for 5 minutes, and coat them in vanilla sugar.
- This recipe accounts for about 60-70 crescents.
- If you want your vanilkové rohlíčky more fine-grained, you can use ground blanched almonds or simply almond flour.
- Don’t knead the dough for rohlíčky too hard, the result should be soft and non-sticky.
DISCLAIMER: Because I come from Central Europe, my recipes are based on metric units such as grams or milliliters. Check out how I convert metric units to the U.S. system:Conversion chart
Read also: Czech Christmas Folk Traditions