I have a great recipe to share with you today, Yugoslavian Christmas cookies. I’m crazy for Christmas cookies and finding unique recipes is an obsession of mine!
The first time I had these was at a neighborhood cookie exchange. I had one bite and fell immediately into cookie bliss! Ever since that first bite, these have been in my regular Christmas cookies rotation.
But, let me tell you a little secret, I not only make these for the holidays, but these cookies are in demand at my house all year long!
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 treat that you’ll love any day of the year! The texture is crisp rather than that of a crunchy Christmas crack but both are equally addicting!
Let’s bake some cookies!
- Fifty minutes from start to finish
- Fabulous flavor combo!
- Easy to make but tastes complex
- Cutting: Because of the meringue element in these bars, it’s imperative that you use a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to cut them rather than just pushing the knife straight down to cut. Doing the latter will crush the bars and make a total mess.
- 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 the plum jam. Plum yum!
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Putting these cookies in the fridge is not advisable. Just cut up your bars and store them between layers of wax or parchment paper in an airtight container.
Can You Freeze This?
Because the meringue is in contact with the moist jam, you have to be careful when freezing. 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
Once you start making the meringue 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.
The good news is they’re just as delicious the day after they’re made.
- Use almonds instead. If you have leftover ground almonds from baking vanillekipferl, use it instead of ground walnuts.
- Add a hint of cinnamon. Some Yugoslavian Christmas cookies recipe have cinnamon in it! Both my cream cheese spritz cookies and danish wedding cookies have 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. I suggest not adding more than a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon here if you try it that way.
- Use pecans instead. Pecan shortbread cookies and butter pecan cookies both use chopped pecans, just grind it in the food processor to make it a substitute to the ground walnuts.
- Chocolate Christmas Cookies
- Christmas Butter Cookies
- Candy Cane Cookies
- Reindeer Cookies
- Christmas sugar cookies
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.
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