Dressed up "Vanilice"


 #Festive cookies No2
And I am off to Lyon !!!

#Vanilice !!! -  the most loved and cherished Serbian cookies, the shortbread of the Balkans with as much variation as there are households. Ours is very old fashioned (and yet still the best for me) with ground walnuts and lard, tiny and sandwiched together with a spoonful of apricot jam.

 They came up in a very warm light hearted conversation with my husband's friend the other night when he took us into his grandmother's kitchen; in the time of preparation for the New Years Eve (Communism and Christmas didn't agree very well) when the cookies and all sorts of sweet and savoury treats were prepared well in advance and stored into neatly cleaned shoe boxes, lined with white paper and hidden in a far away corners or the grandma's larders.

I was curious whether there were some Google images of the cookies in a shoe box , since I didn't think of making my own on time and - Voila! There were few, but this one was spot on.
Picture Source

 Sometimes, they would be even layered, or boxed in order in which they would be served - cheapest and easiest to make ones on the top and usually available throughout the holidays, then the second layer (or box) given to the children only after dinner and then there were the special treats, often locked up in cupboards and reserved for the main meal and or guests only. 
I was very lucky though, my grandma preferred us to the guests :)

Although they look very cute in their everyday dresses, today, since this month's posts are a celebration related I am giving you a dressed up version of fancy apple shape cookies sandwiched together with apple butter sauce :)

Dressed Up "Vanilice"

#Festive cookies

The Main Recipe:

 100 g sugar
150 g lard
1 egg
100 g ground walnuts
300 g flour

Mix all the ingredients together, roll the pastry out until about 3 mm thick and using a cookie cutter of your choice ( the smaller the better) cut the cookies. Bake them at 180C for about 10-12 minutes, making sure they stay light in colour.
Let them cool and sandwich together with a small dollop of apricot jam. Sprinkle heavily with icing sugar and store into an air tight container.

Now, what I did differently:

I halved the pastry  and added a spoon of chocolate powder to one part, then kneaded it until smooth in appearance, then I attached the two parts together, with your rolling pin, as shown on the above picture. Cut the cookies out from the middle part, where the two pastries meet ( reattach them after that) then cut the centre part out of the every second one, if you wish. Bake, let them cool and sandwich together with some apple sauce.

Apple Sauce:

3 apples ( Bramley apples are good for this)
50 g sugar
50 g butter

Put all the ingredients into a pan, then cover with a lid. Place the pan on a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 mins until the apples break down into a purée. Let it cool.

If you are using an apple sauce instead of jam, you will not be able to keep them in a container for a long time, as they would go soft. Keep the sauce refrigerated, and the cookies in a covered container, until they are ready to be served.

I am off to Lyon for the Fete-des-Lumieres/Festival-of-Lights hoping to see some beautiful creations, get to know the old town centre and eat... a lot .. of amazing food.. and of course, bring some delicacies back, some pink pralines and papillote(s) maybe..
Until I take fresh set of pictures to share them with you, this is what I have been admiring for months. See you next week:)

Pictures form the previous festivals, courtesy of Telegraf 

You Might Also Like