7 Traditional Czech Christmas Cookies

Vanilla Crescents

Claire Cohen

St. Nicholas Day—which takes place on December 6—signals the beginning of Christmas baking for many Czechs. Out come all the time-honored recipes for labor-intensive and easy no-bake cookies and sweets known as vánoční cukrovi (vah-NAWTCH-nee tsoo-KRAW-vee). This is an all-inclusive list that can consist of cookies, dainty tarts, candies and more. It conjures the image of "sugar plums dancing in their heads."

  • 01 of 07

    Czech Susenky Christmas Cookie (Vanocni Cukrovi)

    Czech Christmas biscuits and gingerbreads with Christmas wreath. Four candles are for each Advent Sunday.
    Richard Nebesky/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

    This one basic recipe can be transformed into different cookies by varying the shape, and sandwiching together with jam or cookie filling, decorating with different-colored icings, dusting with confectioners' sugar or leaving plain.

  • 02 of 07

    Butter Cookies (Maslove Pecivo)

    Various Homemade Butter Cookies
    StockFood / Getty Images

    Butter cookies can be piped out or forced through a cookie press or, if refrigerated for a few hours, rolled into balls and turned into thumbprint cookies filled with jam.

  • 03 of 07

    Black-and-White Cookies (Linecke Testo Dvoubarevne)

    Woman holding baking tray of checkerboard cookies, close up, mid section
    Foodcollection / Getty Images

    This easy recipe for Czech black-and-white cookies or linecke testo dvoubarevne (lih-NETS-keh TAYS-toh dvaw-oo-bah-RREV-nay) can be made into zavitky (pinwheel), sachovnice (checkerboard), kolecka s obrouckou (wheel), rezy ze cytr pruhu (square), and salam (salami) shapes.

  • 04 of 07

    Parisian Rolled Cookies (Parizske Pecivo)

    Creampuffs and pirouette cookies
    Lew Robertson / Getty Images

    This recipe for Czech Parisian cookies or parizske pecivo are better known as rolled wafer cookies or pirouettes. They are usually served as is, but they can be filled with sweetened whipped cream, if desired.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Bear Paws Cookie (Medvedi Tlapicky)

    Czech bear paw cookies

    The Spruce / Katarina Zunic 

    Bear paws cookies can be rolled in vanilla sugar or confectioner's sugar, but many Czechs like to dip the ends in melted chocolate and use blanched slivered almonds for claws. And don't worry if you don't have a bear paw pan, a madeleine pan will work just fine.

  • 06 of 07

    Vanilla Crescents (Vanilkove Rohlicky)

    Vanilla crescents

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen

    Some bakers like to roll these in vanilla sugar while they are still hot, but they're also lovely rolled in confectioner's sugar. They look like freshly fallen snow—so perfect for Christmas!

  • 07 of 07

    Gingerbread Cookies (Pernik na Figurky)

    Gingerbread cookie
    Paper Boat Creative / Getty Images

    This recipe can be made into plain, round, gingersnap shapes or into whimsical gingerbread men, stars, hearts, angels, reindeer or anything your heart desires. Decorate with this easy-to-make water icing.