Are these cookies beehives – včelí úly – or wasps nests – vosí hnízda – ? I found that the Czechs aren’t very fussy about it and exactly the same cookie is known by both names. Maybe Czech bakers only decide about the name after checking the results of their work? These traditional Christmas treats are very easy to make. Usually, store-bought vanilla wafers are used for the walnut dough and the base of the cookie so you would not even have to come close to an oven to make them. These beehive cookies are not good for your waistline: the main ingredient is butter! But I like the combination of the crunchy base, the soft cream and the firm walnut dough. I should have waited a few days to post this cookie. I will be in Prague this weekend and my two missions will be to taste as many different beehive cookies as I can and to buy a special Czech beehive mould for perfect results. And -for keen bakers- I have included a recipe for the vanilla wafers at the bottom of this post.
Beehive cookies from the Czech Republic
for 25-30 cookies
For the walnut dough
150 grams of vanilla wafers
+ 30 little vanilla wafers for the base
100 grams walnut (shelled)
1 vanilla bean
100 grams icing sugar
50 grams soft unsalted butter
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon rum
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
caster sugar for sprinkling
for the cream filling
200 grams soft butter
200 grams icing sugar
1 tablespoon rum
1 egg yolk (or 1 tablespoon custard if you do not want to use raw eggs)
Pulse the vanilla wafers into fine crumbs in the food processor. Remove and pulse the walnuts until finely ground. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds from the two halves. Mix the vanilla wafer crumbs and the walnuts with the vanilla seeds, the icing sugar, the butter, the cocoa powder, the salt and the rum. This goes really well in the food processor too.
Bring together into a ball. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Mix the butter, icing sugar, rum and the egg yolk into a smooth cream.
Make little balls out of about 20 grams dough. Use the nozzle of a piping bag, the end of a wooden spoon or your finger to form a hollow beehive from the dough. The base should have the same diameter as the cookie you are using for the bottom of the cookie. With the blunt side of a knife carefully carve a few rings in the beehive. Fill with cream and seal with a cookie. Sprinkle with caster sugar.
enough for 1 batch of beehive cookies
110 grams soft unsalted butter
100 grams sugar
1 vanilla bean
30 grams honey
large pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
¼ teaspoon baking powder
225 grams flour
100 milliliter whipping cream
Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F. Beat the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy for about 5 mins. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds from the two halves. Add the vanilla seeds, the honey, the salt and mix well. Beat in the egg yolks one by one. Mix in the baking powder and the flour. Beat in the cream. Fill a piping bag with a small smooth nozzle and pipe nice little round cookies (∅ ca. 2,5 cm/1 inch) on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper. They will spread a little bit. Bake the cookies in the middle of the oven for 15-18 mins. until light brown. Take out of the oven and leave to cool on the cookie sheet.
This post is also available in: Dutch