Vosí hnízda are one of the most popular no-bake Christmas cookies here in the Czech Republic, made very shortly before Christmas. Let me assure you: they won’t last too long on the table!
What Are Vosí hnízda?
These lovely Czech Christmas cookies are called vosí hnízda (wasp nests) or včelí úly (beehives) because of their shape.
Vosí hnízda are filled with incredibly delicious rum custard. The bottom is sealed with a piece of rounded vanilla cookie.
More Czech Christmas cookies:
- Linecké cukroví – Linzer cookies
- Vanilkové rohlíčky – classical Czech Christmas cookies
- Masarykovo cukroví – the #1 Czech president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk’s favorite cookies
Czech Piškoty Biscuits
To make vosí hnízda, you need a special type of traditional Czech cookies, called piškoty.
They’re small round cookies made out of eggs, flour, and sugar. Piškoty are generally vanilla-flavored, crispy, dry, and light.
Piškoty are very popular in the Czech Republic, mainly among children. In the Czech kitchen, there are plenty of sweet recipes using them.
I’m not sure if you can find something similar to Czech piškoty in your country. If not, here’s an easy and quick recipe for homemade piškoty.
MY TIP: In the US, you can buy Nilla Vanilla Wafers, similar to the Czech piškoty!
Note on Dough
Vosí hnízda dough is made of crushed piškoty biscuits, powdered sugar, unsalted butter, dark cocoa, rum, and egg whites. There is also a version with ground nuts, usually walnuts.
Making the dough is very easy: mix the ingredients in a bowl with your hands until smooth, firm dough forms. Wrap it in the plastic food wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 2 hours.
If you didn’t refrigerate the dough, it wouldn’t be hard enough, and the beehives would come apart very easily while making them.
Read also: What Do Czechs Eat at Christmas?
Rum Custard Filling
The magic of the beehives is mostly because of the rum custard filling.
Even though there are countless variants of the rum custard's recipe, I use a recipe that needs just 4 ingredients: unsalted butter softened at room temperature, vanilla essence, powdered sugar, and rum. That´s all, and it tastes fantastic!
Mix everything into a smooth cream, and you’re ready.
IMPORTANT TIP: For the rum custard ingredients merging well, you need very soft butter. If you use cold butter straight out of the fridge, you’ll have lumps in the custard.
At New York Times you can read an useful article on Butter in baking
Czech Beehive Cookies Mold
It would help if you had a special mold to make vosí hnízda, which is easily available on Amazon (Generally made by the Czech company Tescoma).
If you have any acquaintances in the Czech Republic, you can also ask them to send you the mold.
Beehive mold is an easy plastic mold that can be opened. As such, finished vosí hnízda can be easily taken out.
Read also: Czech Christmas Folk Traditions
How to Make Vosí hnízda?
If you have beehives, rum custard, and some round wafers for a base ready, take the beehive mold, and let’s get rolling!
- Take a piece of dough and quickly knead it in your hand to soften.
- Make a walnut-sized ball, roll it in coarse sugar until it’s fully coated.
- Press the ball into the vosí hnízdo mold.
- Make a hole in the middle with the end of a wooden spoon.
- Fill the hole with rum custard.
- Seal the bottom of the vosí hnízdo with a round wafer.
- Open the mold carefully and take the beehive out.
Coarse sugar, in which you coated the cookie-to-be before you put it in the mold, forms a non-stick layer on the surface.
Because of this, you’ll be able to take the finished vosí hnízdo out of the mold without any effort.
When to Make them
Beehives are a popular Christmas cookie type, made in the Czech Republic slowly before Christmas.
When I was a kid, we used to make beehives right at Christmas (24th December).
Vosí hnízda were my brother’s domain. He is 7 years older than me, and my childhood memories include a nice moment at Christmas:
My brother making beehives with the TV on, and traditional Czech Christmas fairy tales like „Pyšná princezna“ or „Dalskabáty, hříšná ves“ (don´t try to translate it 😉 running in the background.
When our family met this year at Christmas, my brother’s daughter teased his dad that he didn’t put enough rum custard in the beehives this year.
It seems that the years haven’t changed the tradition in my brother’s family.
Vosí hnízda – Czech Beehive Christmas Cookies
- 1 and ⅔ cups crushed vanilla wafers (Czech piškoty or US Nilla Vanilla Wafers)
- 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar
- ¾ stick (85 g) butter (unsalted)
- 2 Tbsp dark cocoa
- 3 Tbps golden rum
- 1 egg white
Beehive rum custard:
- 1 stick (113 g) butter (unsalted, softened at room temperature)
- ⅓ cup (40 g) powdered sugar
- vanilla essence
- 1 Tbsp golden rum
- Czech piškoty (or Nilla Vanilla Wafers (in the US stores))
- ½ cup (100 g) coarse sugar
Making dough for vosí hnízda:
- Make smooth dough from all ingredients, wrap it in food wrap and let it rest in a fridge at least for two hours (ideally overnight).
- Let the butter soften to room temperature.
- Cream the butter, add powdered sugar, vanilla essence, and rum.
- Mix all ingredients well in a smooth, silky cream.
- Take a piece of the dough, and make a walnut-sized ball. Squeeze it a few times in your hand to soften it.
- Coat the dough in coarse sugar on all sides.
- Put the ball into the beehive mold.
- Make a hole in the middle, and fill it with custard.
- Cover the bottom with a piškot and take the vosí hnízdo carefully out of the mold.
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