Originally broadcast on Sunday, December 13, 2020 @3pm EST
Baking with Janka/Pečieme s Jankou
(a dual-language event in English & Slovak)
The Best of Slovak Advent & Christmas
The Slovak-American Cultural Center joined Slovak baker extraordinaire Janka Homrokova in her kitchen as she baked Slovak Christmas cookies "medvedie labky" ("bear paws"), made mulled wine and answered pressing baking questions.
Traditional Medvedie Labky ("Bear Paws") Cookie Recipe
This recipe is from a Slovak cookbook called "Mucniky" ("Desserts"), published in 1965. Links are included below to sites where authentic supplies and ingredients may be purchased. Do not be afraid to make substitutions, however, if necessary--e.g., walnuts or hazelnuts for almonds, regular flour for coarse flour, etc. The cookies will be delicious even with substitutions! This cookie is made with molds ("formicky") and thus produces a beautifully shaped cookie with varying depth. The molds are not expensive to purchase and are worth the investment! You will need roughly 70 molds for one batch of cookies.
Recipe in Slovak Language
21 dkg masla
27 dkg krupicovej muky
10 dkg mandli
16 dkg praskoveho cukru
trocha mletej skorice
3 dkg kakaa
4 tlcene vonave klinceky
Maslo v muke na doske dobre rozmrvime. Pridame nelupane mlete mandle, cukor, mletu skoricu, kakao, postruhanu citronovu koru, tlcene klinceky, zltky a dobre vymiesime na cesto. Nechame hodinu v chlade odpocinut. Odpocinute cesto vtlacame do labkovych nemastenych formiciek asi do troch stvrtin. Naplnene dame na plech a pecieme v dobre teplej rure. Upecene nechame trosku vychladnut, byklopime z formiciek a posypeme praskovym cukrom.
Recipe in English Language
21 dkg butter --> 15 tablespoons butter
27 dkg coarse flour --> 1 1/2 cups coarse flour
10 dkg almonds --> 1 cup ground almonds (with skins)
16 dkg powdered sugar --> 1 1/8 cups powdered sugar
generous pinch of ground cinnamon
3 dkg baking cocoa --> 4 tablespoons baking cocoa
grated lemon peel from half a fresh lemon
4 ground cloves (or 1/2 tsp ground cloves)
2 egg yolks
This dough can be made in a large bowl (no need for pastry board or rolling pin). Combine butter and flour into crumbs (with two forks, pastry blender, or food processor). Add ground almonds, sugar, ground cinnamon, cocoa, grated lemon peel, ground nutmeg, and egg yolks, and work well into a smooth dough (first with a spatula, then by hand). Form dough into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes to make the dough easier to work with. To press dough into ungreased molds, break off a piece of dough, roll into a ball and dip in flour to lightly coat, then gently press into mold to about 3/4 full (no need to jam the dough into the mold, as you will want the cookies to easily come out). Place filled molds onto a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for roughly 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool until molds can be handled safely. Gently knock cookies out of the molds. If they are sticking, gently pry tip of cookie with tip of a sharp knife. Serve dusted with powdered sugar or decorated to look like bear paws (see photo above).
Cookie molds & Slovak coarse flour: https://www.slovczechvar.com/?lang=en
Kitchen scale (so you can measure in dkg): https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozeri-ZK14-Pronto-Digital-Multifunction-Kitchen-and-Food-Scale/37531705?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=0&&adid=22222222227026398302&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=43324144832&wl4=pla-82770988592&wl5=9003741&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=8175035&wl11=online&wl12=37531705&veh=sem&gclid=CjwKCAiAq8f-BRBtEiwAGr3Dgdx0l3ZTLL5_LlL6w2k-cFo8khpyIE6UcoCzjF6ND4cUgBnoRKl1OxoC6UwQAvD_BwE
Pastry blender: https://www.amazon.com/MaMix-Blender%EF%BC%8CPastry-Professional-Stainless-Blender/dp/B087DXW4X5/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=pastry+blender&qid=1607486219&sr=8-6
Mulled Wine Recipe
Mulled wine is an ancient drink, believed to
have originated in the Roman Empire as an
aide to warming up during the winter months.
As the Roman Empire expanded into Europe,
knowledge of the drink spread there as well.
Today mulled wine is served at outdoor
Christmas markets in Slovakia, but it works
well indoors too! So easy to prepare, yet so
declicious. Buy a mulled wine spice mix, or
prepare from scratch as below.
Click here for a home-made recipe: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/mulled-wine-recipe-1950801
Mulling Spices Mix: https://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/mulling-spice/?sku=4973491&cm_ven=PLA&cm_ite=4973491&cm_cat=Google&cm_pla=Local&gclid=CjwKCAiAq8f-BRBtEiwAGr3Dgfd-1h8lF7aICtCd5VGhaNtFStzy4zb-mMtdyY_mVbZt_JUbS3M0ghoC6icQAvD_BwE