Say hello to your new favorite Christmas cookie: Yugoslavian Christmas cookies! These cookie bars are uncommon in most holiday spreads, but oh my, one bite and you’ll be adding these cookies to your usual rotation.
A layer of buttery cookie sits under jam, which sits under fluffy meringue, which sits under nuts — yes, each layer is delicious, and yes, they combine into an utterly delectable Christmas treat that’s also great year-round!
Ready to give your holidays an Eastern European twist? Let’s get these Yugoslavian Christmas cookies baking!
Nervous about attempting this unusual treat? Don’t be! I promise, my Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies recipe is every bit as delicious as it sounds. Plus:
- Fifty minutes from start to finish
- Versatility galore!
- Easy to make but tastes complex
My Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies recipe combines the best parts of easy-to-make cookie bars with a European twist. I know it can seem overwhelming to try something new, but that’s why I’m here: to ease your stress!
You Can Meringue: Meringue always seemed like one of those complex desserts that only trained chefs could make. Wrong! Meringue is surprisingly easy, especially in recipes like this. Whip your egg whites and add sugar.
My recipe has you add lemon extract, which is a necessary addition to help your meringue hold its structure. Give it a try! You got this.
Is the Meringue Crying? Another tip to make sure your meringue turns out as perfect as I know it can is to spread your meringue all the way to the edge of the cookie tray. This will help prevent weeping, when meringue starts to “melt” after baking.
Jam: My Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies recipe calls for blackberry jelly — but if you want to up the Eastern European influence, there’s a whole world of jams and jellies you can try. One of my favorites is plum jam. Plum yum!
Allergy-Friendly: I love how adaptable my Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies recipe is! If you need to make it gluten-free, swap the flour for your favorite gluten-free version. To make it dairy-free, swap the butter for your favorite dairy-free alternative. The only alteration that doesn’t work is to make it egg-free — the eggs are quite imperative to my Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies recipe!
Bar cookies are notoriously storage-friendly — and my Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies recipe is no different!
If you bake your cookies in a tray that comes with a lid, simply snap it on after they’ve cooled. Otherwise, cut up your bars and store them between layers of wax or parchment paper in either an airtight container or bag.
My Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies recipe makes such pretty, clearly defined layers that I can’t help but display them prominently at any party. I love finding nice display dishes at thrift stores or splurging on a multilayer tray pyramid. You worked hard on these cookies — treat them proudly!
Can You Freeze This?
Because the meringue is in contact with the moist jam, you have to be careful when freezing my Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies recipe. After you thaw them, the meringue will lose a bit of its structure, but the flavor will still be yummy. Because of this interaction of moisture and meringue, I recommend only freezing meringues for up to a month.
Make Ahead Tips
Work your make-ahead magic by whipping up the cookie base ahead of time. You can store raw cookie dough in the freezer for up to two months.
Once you start making the meringue, however, you’ll have to follow the recipe through to the end. Meringue is very much not make-ahead friendly! It works best with fresh eggs and will lose its volume over time unless you bake it right away.
How Long Can You Keep This?
At room temperature, my Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies recipe will only last a day or two. Again, the interaction of the jam with the meringue will slowly affect the meringue over time. In the fridge, you’ll get a little more life — my Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies recipe will last for up to three months.
Can I Add Peanut Butter?
One of the best parts of cookie bars is the versatility! For every craving, there’s a bar.
Chocolate peanut butter bars are always a crowd-pleaser. Who can say no to the heavenly combination of chocolate and peanut butter?
Want the yumminess, but in a rush? No bake peanut butter bars are for you!
Can I Add Other Berries In This Recipe?
Want a delicate, fancy flavor pairing? Lemon blueberry bars are light and luscious, a celebration of that well-beloved meeting of citrus and berries.
Can I Use Pecans Instead?
Go for it! My Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies recipe is only a few twists away from being pecan pie bars — yum!
Or if you want to go full traditional, try pecan shortbread cookies. The heartiness of shortbread with the added crunch of pecans, they’re truly divine!
Can I Use Almonds Instead?
Almonds make every holiday dish feel that much cozier! Almond crescent cookies are some of my favorites — delicate yet crumbly, in that iconic shape that everyone recognizes!
Or, if you really loved the pecan cookies I mentioned above, go for almond shortbread cookies! Better yet, why choose? Toss in a mix of pecans and almonds!
If you’re missing an added umph to pair with the almonds, almond joy bars are an utterly mouth-watering mix of chocolate and almond. You’ll never regret making these!
Can I Make This Recipe With Italian Twist?
One of my go-to recipes during the holidays is Italian Christmas cookies — which feels so reminiscent of the cookie layer in my Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies recipe! Playing on the jelly addition, give Italian fig cookies a try. The heartiness of the fig adds such an earthy, warm flavor to the cookies that instantly transports me to a cozy Christmas wonderland.
If you want even more Italian holiday treats, rainbow cookies will get you there! Part cookie, part cake, all delicious — and beautiful!
Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg yolk large
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup ground walnuts
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 cup blackberry jelly
- 1/4 cup walnuts chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream butter and sugar together thoroughly; add egg yolk and salt and combine. Add flour and combine. Pat mixture into a 9X13 inch pan.
- Beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually add 1 cup of sugar. Continue to beat until you reach a meringue consistency. Gently fold in ground walnuts and lemon extract.
- Spread jelly over dough mixture in pan.
- Swirl meringue over jelly. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
- Bake for about 40 minutes. To cut, use a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion.
Who can make just one Christmas cookie recipe? Not me! If my Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies recipe was just the start of your holiday baking, check out these delicious additions:
- Double Chocolate Snowballs – Chocolate-chocolate heaven!
- Chocolate Shortbread Cookies – Butter, cocoa powder — what more do you need?
- Christmas Sugar Cookies – A classic for a reason!
- Gingerbread Man – What decorations do you like?
- Spritz Cookies – Easy and mouthwatering!
I hope I’ve helped ease your concerns about making my Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies recipe! Branching out of your usual cookie recipes is so rewarding — for your confidence as well as your tastebuds.
Which layer of my Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies recipe is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!