The most popular cookie in Slovakia is probably the spiced medovníky honey cookie. It is a mild version of gingerbread without ginger and only spiced with cinnamon, anise and clove. It does mean that you can taste the honey that sweetens this cookie really well. When I was in Bratislava last month I tasted the medovníky cookie from a few bakeries. It is usually not crunchy, but just a little soft. This warming spiced cookie is baked mostly in the cold months, and during Christmas Slovak bakers decorate them with beautiful iced patterns. The butter, honey and sugar for this cookie are melted together and the slightly cooled mixture is kneaded into the flour mixture. That is why the dough has to rest for a quite some time to firm up and that gives the spices time to blend their flavors well. This fragrant cookie keeps its shape beautifully when baked. I made the traditional hearts and flowers, but this dough can easily handle more intricate shapes. If you like this cookie, try my variation with saffron and orange.
Medovníky cookie from Slovakia
For about 25 cookies
125 g (½ cup + 2 tbs) sugar
150 g (scant ½ cup) honey
60 g (½ stick) of butter
400 grams (3¼ cups) flour
5 grams (1 tsp) baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground aniseed
zest of ½ organic lemon
pinch of salt
Melt the sugar with the honey and the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Let the mixture cool slightly.
Mix the flour with the baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, aniseed, lemon zest and salt.
Add the honey mixture to the flour mixture and stir it in a little.
Add the egg and mix into a soft dough. Allow at least 4 hours or preferably 1 night to firm up in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF. Roll the dough out to ½ cm / ⅕ inch on a floured work space or between 2 sheets of baking paper and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.
Bake the medovníky cookies in the middle of the oven for 7-10 minutes. A short time in the oven will leave them a little soft. A longer time in the oven will make them crunchy.
This post is also available in: Dutch