My daughter and I have tried another old recipe from my hand-written cookbook recently – it’s one of those I got from my Mum years ago. I remember I quite liked ‘Dobošové kolieska’ (Dobosh cookies) as a child, not to mention the fact they always looked immaculate when Mum laid her hands on them. She’s always been so particular about the look of her desserts, unlike me, who took this very casual approach to baking of sorts: ‘What’s the point? It’s going to be eaten in a fraction of time anyway.’
For Mum, each dessert is a work of art, and she’ll give hers a great deal of time and attention. When I chose to recreate her Dobosh cookies this past Easter, it was because honey-based cookies are popular Easter bakes in Slovakia.
Unlike the round cookies in my Mum’s original recipe, I gave mine a more seasonable shape. So here goes the recipe:
For the dough:
- 150 g fine sugar
- 80 g butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons runny honey
- 1 sachet baking powder (13 g in Slovakia)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 300 g strong (coarse) flour
- 200 g fine (pastry) flour
For the cream:
- 250 ml milk
- 20 g strong (coarse) flour
- 1 sachet vanilla sugar (20 g in Slovakia)
- 120 g butter
- 100 g fine sugar
For the chocolate icing:
- 100 g dark chocolate
- 50 g margarine or butter
Take the butter out of the fridge to let it soften. Place the amount assigned for the cream in a mixing bowl.
To make the dough, put the butter in a saucepan together with the sugar, honey, eggs and the ground cinnamon. Melt over a low heat, stirring all the time. Don’t cook! Add the baking powder, the lemon juice and stir again. Set aside to cool awhile.
While the mixture is still warm, add to it the strong (coarse) flour and work into a smooth dough of medium thickness.
Sieve the fine (pastry) flour onto a rolling board, and transfer the doughy mixture on top. Work into a smooth, thick dough and divide into two balls.
Roll out each ball evenly until the dough is about 3 mm thick. Cut out cookies of various shapes and transfer onto a baking tray lined up with a piece of parchment. Bake in batches at 180ºC until the cookies turn golden brown.
To make the cream, pour the milk in a saucepan and add the strong (coarse) flour together with the vanilla sugar. Cook over a medium heat until the mixture has thickened. Set aside and let cool down.
Meanwhile, cream the soft butter with the fine sugar in the mixing bowl. Spoon by spoon, add the vanilla cream and combine until smooth. Spread a teaspoon of the vanilla buttercream in between two cookies and press slightly with your fingers. Smooth the edges for a nice finish.
To make the chocolate icing, break the chocolate and the margarine or butter into a small saucepan. Place over a low heat and stir until the ingredients combine into a smooth, loose mixture. Put aside.
Lay a piece of parchment on a worktop. When the chocolate has thickened slightly, dip each cookie in it and hold for a second to let the excess chocolate drop off. Stand the cookies on the parchment to let the chocolate set.
If it gets too thick, reheat the chocolate gently to make it loose again. When you have covered all the cookies, let them stand at room temperature for an hour or two. This will allow the chocolate to set, as well as penetrate through the dough to soften it and enhance the flavours.
At the end of the day, you’ll be rewarded with a sizeable batch of Dobosh cookies – a delectable treat for your guests, or a finger-licking accompaniment to your afternoon tea.