Shortbread in Slovakia

Although Wikipedia assures us that shortbread comes from the British isles and the recipe has been in use about 800 years, similar cookies are found wherever butter is used as shortening to make sweets. In Slovakia, shortbread cookies are called  linecké cukrovinky (i.e. from the name of the Austrian town Linz). In Linz, however, you couldn’t buy “Linz cookies” – there, they are called “eyes” (even though Linz cake is the famous “Linzer torte”; http://www.rozhlas.cz/radiozurnal/zzz/_zprava/patrani-po-puvodu-lineckeho-testa-pripomina-skoro-detektivku–1426323).

The Slovak (and Czech) name, therefore, is a mystery. One things is sure: ancient Slavs used honey to prepare food, so clearly if the recipe calls for sugar, it must be a relatively recent arrival.

Below are two Slovak elaborations on the 3-ingredients “original” shortbread recipe (sugar, butter, flour, in the ratio 1:2:3). The first one has a couple of innovations, namely the native addition: walnuts, the second also adds some ingredients and one a foreign addition: almonds. These elaborations make the cookies friable (i.e. in Slovak, krehké) and extremely tasty.

cuc1

Ingredients

280 g butter

140 g ground walnuts

140 g powdered sugar

420 g flour (may be all purpose)

1 egg

lemon rind from one lemon

Work all the ingredients into a dough (it may stick, so put it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes, and take it out in smaller batches). Roll out evenly (slightly less than 1 com) and cut out desired cookie shapes. Once baked (edges can be slightly golden, not brown), sprinkle with sugar.

 

cuc2

Ingredients

420 g flour (may be all purpose)

280 g butter (room temperature)

140 powdered sugar

2 egg yolks

60 g ground almonds (the almonds may be slightly toasted beforehand)

Work all the ingredients into a dough (it may stick, so put it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes before rolling out, and take it out in smaller batches for an easier process). Roll out evenly (slightly less than 1 cm) and cut out desired cookie shapes. Once baked (edges can be slightly golden, not brown), join two cookies with red currant (or any tart, not too sweet) jam.

 

 

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