You know, in a way, this post is anti-climactic. Sure, I was all excited about using 3 1/2 sticks of butter in one recipe…but at the end I am going to tell you to halve the recipe anyway, unless you want to be shaping cookies for the next 8 years. Or you decide on a hunch these will be your very favorite cookies (they quite possibly could be!) and you want to dive in full bore. So while I have like 10 lbs of dough which DOES contain 3 1/2 sticks of butter, you will most likely have quite a bit less. But I suppose that’s a good thing. Because 400 dkg is a LOT of butter.
But let’s move past the butter and into the recipe for Vanilkové Rohlíčky, which roughly translates to “vanilla rolls” or vanilla croissants I suppose. In non-cookie form, rohlíčky are the Czech version of croissants and if you ever find yourself in the Czech Republic, I recommend going to any market and buying some. Then get some butter and some apricot marmalade…take a bite of the rohlík, spread on some butter and plop on some jam, and repeat until you are swearing you’re moving to Prague.
These don’t have any vanilla in them, so your guess is as good as mine as to why they are called vanilla rolls. Maybe they’re vanilla like I am vanilla. Which is to say, they are not chocolate rolls (čokoladové rohlíčky), and my guess is that they are also terrible dancers. Just kidding, I am a rocking dancer.
ANYHOODLE, let’s get back to baking here. This is another mound it all on the counter and squeeze away recipe. It’s good for getting any aggression out, or for strengthening hand muscles. Or both!
We used Almond Meal from Trader Joe’s but I highly recommend grinding your own nuts–the flavor difference is incomparable (please cease and desist making various “nut” and “balls” jokes in your mind). If you have a food processor (I do not…HI SANTA!) this is simple. If you don’t but you have one of those hand chopper contraptions that you have to smack the top of…you are in for a long night. There are a ton of nuts in this recipe, and they should be finely ground. I also recommend walnuts instead of almonds.
Rolling and slicing sounds easy, but it is not. My boyfriend’s dad has these specific cookies he calls “curse cookies” because every time he makes them he ends up swearing up a storm. These, my friends, are my curse cookies. You have to work the dough considerably before it rolls out nicely (it will be quite warm)…and since you’re using your fingers there are always ridges that never seem to disappear on the roll. Slicing them is fine, but you have to make sure you slice the right length. I would go so far as to put a ruler next to them if I weren’t so lazy. THEN, oh boy….then comes the real challenge:
Here is my grandmother showing the correct way to shape the cookies. You have to kind of coax them into little crescent shapes. You will do one, it will fail, you will try another, it will fail, you will try another, it will work and you’ll think you’ve mastered it, but then on the very next one you’ll crack it all over again
You will never master these cookies. My grandmother is 86 years old and she has not mastered these cookies. But you will make them, year after year, because they are delicious. When they come out of the oven and are steaming hot you’ll throw them into sugar and they will bathe in sweetness and you will be sold on the idea of these cookies.
Mark my words, friends. It’s like childbirth (I imagine). As soon as you put these little babies in your mouth…….wait. Ok, it’s not like childbirth. But what I am trying to say is that the minute one of these lands on your tongue and melts away, so will all the memories of the painful process.
Vanilkové Rohlíčky (halved for your convenience)
from Kniha Kucharských Předpisů
24 dkg mouka (2 cups flour)
20 dkg másla (1 3/4 sticks butter–what is that, like, 14 tbsp?)
7 dkg cukru (1/3 cup sugar [we accidentally used this much for double the recipe and I think they were still great–I like things not too sweet…if you are the same, consider cutting this amount a little])
11 dkg rozstrouhaných mandlí se slupkami (1 1/4 cups finely chopped walnuts)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mound all the ingredients on a clean counter and knead until you form a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for an hour.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and, working in small batches, rip off some dough and roll it with your fingertips to about about 1/3-1/2″ in diameter. Cut about 1 1/2″ segments and shape into crescents. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes (or until slightly browned). Remove from the oven and immediately toss in a good amount of sugar so that all sides are coated.