Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas cookies part 1: Roshky

I love Christmas cookies. My family has a bunch that we always make: snickerdoodles, chocolate sugar puffs, thumbprints. But what actually inspired this series was the recipe for Lebkuchen (coming up) in my new America's Test Kitchen International cookbook.  When I asked around on Twitter about international Christmas traditions, my friend Katie said that her family makes roshky, a Slovak delicacy. Or rather, she said, her grandmother and mother make roshky, and she stands around feeling helpless. I read this and thought to myself, I'm a great baker, this should be no problem. Oh, hubris.

I don't love walnuts, so I only made the apricot one and cut the recipe way down (I used one egg and proportional other ingredients). The major issue was the dough. I'm not that good at working with dough that needs to be rolled out. When I read "roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface," I thought let's use wax paper, that'll be much quicker and easier. False. The dough was incredibly sticky (I probably should have kneaded it beyond what the hand mixer could do) and I'm pretty sure I lost about half of it on the wax paper. Instead of getting a cute little tightly rolled spiral log, I couldn't roll it over more than twice. I lost enough of the dough that apricot filling was everywhere. I was pretty sure they were going to be the worst cookies ever. Miraculously, though, the dough did rise a bit while I let them sit, and the cookies taste pretty good (not because of anything I did, I'm sure). Before I try this again, though, I plan to obtain a pet Slovak, preferably of the grandmother variety.

Roshky (Nut Rolls)

2 cups butter
6 eggs
1 cup white sugar
2 cups sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
12 cups all-purpose flour
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 pound ground walnuts
1 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 ounces apricot preserves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg yolk

Prepare two fillings. Mix together walnuts, 1 cup sugar, and 1/ 8 teaspoon cinnamon. In a separate bowl, mix apricot jam with lemon juice and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon.
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, 2 cups butter or margarine, and 6 eggs. Mix well. Add sour cream, milk, flour, yeast, and salt. Beat thoroughly until dough does not stick to hands.
Form dough into 7 or 8 balls. Roll out each ball on a lightly floured board to a rectangle.
Brush dough with melted butter. Fill with fillings. Roll tight. Place on greased pans, and let stand for approximately 4 hours to raise before baking.
Brush tops with beaten egg yolk just before placing in oven.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Wax paper - brilliant! Except it's already starting to stick...

See all the dough on the wax paper?

That's not going to end well...

Good thing I greased the cookie sheet!

They actually tasted pretty good!

1 comment:

  1. Next time, try getting the counter top as cool as possible and flouring it up real well. As an alternative to waxed paper, try floured parchment--it won't stick nearly as much as on waxed paper!