In the Czech kitchen: A guide to classic Christmas cookies plus an easy recipe

Prague bakers give an overview of the most common Czech Christmas cookies with an easy but timeless recipe for vanilla crescents.


Written by Ambiente Published on 20.12.2023 17:00:00 (updated on 20.12.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

Christmas cookies in the Czech Republic are more than just a pre-Christmas dessert for coffee—for many Czech people, baking Christmas cookies has become a cherished tradition. Families try to outdo each other each year by making as many varieties of cookies as possible. There are many classic types to choose from. We've compiled an overview of some of the most common for you to learn to recognize.

Beehives/Wasp Nests (Vosí hnízda/ včelí úly): Whether called beehives or nests, these sweets are among the most popular and challenging to make. An unbaked dough "nest" sits on top of sponge and hides a creamy filling. Their name comes debated across generations.

Linzer Cookies (Linecké): Shaped as circles, stars, trees or bells, these delicate cookies glued together with jam are among the easiest but most classic varieties. No Christmas table is complete without them.

Vanilla Rolls (Vanilkové rohlíčky): Most often made with vanilla dough but also available flavored with nuts or cocoa. The rolls are baked and dusted with powdered sugar. Families have traditions—some love mini rolls, others prefer large ones.

Czech Christmas also includes a traditional plaited Christmas bread, vánočka, made from a light dough mixed with pieces of candied fruit, that's eaten sprinkled with almonds as it is, or spread it with butter or marmalade. It requires more advanced baking skills (you can try a recipe here) or order from Café Savoy, or pick up at Eska bakery.

Gingerbread (Perníčky): Decorating gingerbread is a beloved Czech craft, not just for Christmas. Use icing in a pastry bag to decorate them however your imagination desires. It's a popular pre-holiday activity for kids.

Bear's Paw/Laborious Cookies (Pracny): Special molds are needed to shape the raw dough which is then turned out after baking. The dough is usually hazelnut or cocoa flavored. Some call them "bear's paws."

Walnuts (Ořechy): Similar to laborious cookies but made of two walnut dough halves glued with cream filling. Luxurious versions are dipped in chocolate.

Meringues (Pusinky): Keeping egg whites longer, like in the freezer, simplifies preparation—whip, shape with a pastry bag, bake. Sometimes colorful but usually plain white like snowflakes.

Rum Balls (Rumové kuličky): An unbaked favorite that is dusted and ready. Easy to make with variable ingredients so beginners can enjoy too.

Masaryk Cookies (Masarykovo cukroví): Named for Czechoslovakia's first president, who preferred modest flavors. Vanilla, butter and nuts dominate these crisp slices.

Gingers (Zázvorky): Not spicy, just sweet—ginger cookie dough is cut into shapes and baked to create an interesting flavor pairing. Sometimes seasoned but often enjoyed plain.

Moroccan Ladies (Marokánky): Fruit-filled muffins or pancakes using oranges, candied fruits and nuts. Eaten plain or dipped in chocolate.

recipe Vanilla Rolls by Pastacaffé Chef Jirka Bergman


  • 600 g plain flour
  • 160 g powdered sugar
  • 80 g ground hazelnuts
  • 80 g ground walnuts
  • 400 g butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Powdered sugar flavored with vanilla


  • 1.Mix the flour with the sifted powdered sugar. Mix in the ground hazelnuts and walnuts, softened butter, and egg yolks. Make the dough and let it rest overnight.
  • 2.Preheat the oven to 170°C and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Form rolls from the dough and bake until lightly golden.
  • 3.Sprinkle icing sugar flavored with vanilla onto a clean, dry baking sheet. Carefully slide the warm rolls directly from the parchment onto the sugar. Lightly coat the rolls on all sides with the sugar. Let cool and enjoy!

In the Czech Kitchen is a weekly column written in cooperation with the culinary experts from Ambiente. Established in 1995, the Prague-based collective of pubs, restaurants, and fine-dining outlets has transformed the Czech culinary landscape and lent to the widespread awareness of quality food service and production in Czechia. Follow their socials or book your table at

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