The pretty little vanilice cookie is one of the most popular cookies in Serbia. The crumbly sandwich cookie with a layer of jam in the middle is baked for all sorts of festive occasions. The vanilice was traditionally made with lard, but today butter is more common. Vanilice means ‘little vanilla ‘ and a generous amount of vanilla should be used in the dough. The best, of course, are vanilla seeds from a pod, but if you do not have those at hand, you can replace them with ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. The vanillice cookies are usually sandwiched together with apricot jam, but I had a jar of cherry jam in the larder and used that for half of my cookies. The result was very tasty! After the vanilice cookies are filled they are rolled in icing sugar. Then you have to keep them in quarantine for at least 2 days. The cookies soak up the jam, they get a softer bite and they taste even better than when they are freshly baked. Be strong!!
Vanilice cookie from Serbia
For about 30 cookies
250 grams (1 cup) of butter
125 grams (½ cup) of sugar
500 grams (4½ cups) flour
seeds of 1 vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
apricot jam to sandwich
icing sugar to coat
Beat the butter and sugar light and creamy with a mixer in about 5 minutes.
Add the egg and egg yolk, lemon zest and salt and beat well.
Add the flour and vanilla.
Quickly bring together into a ball of dough. Flatten into a disc, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 160°C / 325°F. Roll the dough out to ½ cm thick and cut out circles with a 3½ cm / 1/5 inch cookie cutter. Bring the dough together again, roll out and cut out more cookies. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 12-15 min. until done. The cookies should still be quite pale. Take out of the oven and let cool completely on the baking sheet.
Spread jam on half the cookies and cover with the rest of the cookies. Roll in icing sugar and leave to stand in an airtight tin for about 2 days before you eat them.
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