Pracny Christmas Cookies
Pracny cookies, also known as medvedi tlapky (bear paws), are one of the traditional Czech Christmas sweets. They smell lovely of spices such as crushed cloves, dark cocoa, cinnamon, and freshly grated lemon zest. Let's bake pracny together according to my grannie's old, handwritten recipe!
Servings 40 cookies
- 1 Stick (110 g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (100 g) walnuts or blanched almonds, or haselnuts
- 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar
- 1 and ¼ cup (160 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp lemon zest freshly ground
- 1 tsp dark cocoa powder unsweetened
- 3 cloves
- 1 tsp cinnamon ground
- a bit of fat and flour to grease pracny molds
- icing sugar to coate pracny cookies
Before you start: First, grind the nuts, finely crush the cloves, grate the zest of a carefully washed/or organic lemon.
Put the nuts, flour, sugar, spices, and egg yolk in a bowl. Work into a smooth dough. Be patient; it may take a moment. I don't use any kitchen mixer; I work with my own hands because I trust them the most.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least two hours to rest. If you have time, leave the dough in the refrigerator overnight.
Prepare the pracny molds: grease each with a bit of butter and dust with flour.
Take the rested dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the kitchen counter for about ten minutes. Scoop equally sized pieces of dough and press them into the prepared molds.
Transfer the filled molds to a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 340 °F (170 °C) for 10 minutes.
Let the baked pracny cookies cool almost completely before unmolding. Grasp the mold by the edge, turn it upside down and gently tap it on the surface of the kitchen counter.
Coat immediately in vanilla-scented icing sugar.
- Makes about 40 pracny cookies.
- Pracny cookies are crispy right after baking. Czech home bakers leave them to rest for several days or weeks to soften. If the pracny are to appear on the Christmas table, they are baked about three weeks before Christmas.
- You need to let the dough rest for the pracny cookies. If you skip this step, you won’t be able to unmould the cookies; however, they will crumble.
- Grease the pracny molds the first time you bake them. If you press another batch of dough into them, just wipe off the residue from the previous baking with a paper towel.