Cera Mel

During our aforementioned trip to Bratislava, we came across a honey shop called Cera Mel. We initially went in because there was a sign in the window advertising a 1 Euro cup of honey lemonade. It was a hot day and the promise of a refreshing lemonade was too tempting to pass up.

Upon entry, we were greeted by a table with many jars of honey, a cup of sticks, and a sign inviting us to try the honey. Long story short, I ended up leaving the store with two jars of honey (ginger honey and mountain honey) and a strong desire to return with a sturdy shopping bag to procure more.

I also left with a bag of these:

Honiglebkuchen

Honiglebkuchen

I’ll take it as the universe’s way of telling me that I really need to start learning how to make lebkuchen, and soon.

Recipe: Linzer Augen

This recipe for Linzer Augen calls for red currant marmalade, which is what is normally used in Linzer Torte. All of the Linzer Augen cookies that I’ve seen here have had apricot jam in the middle, so that is how I made mine.

Linzer Augen

Linzer Augen

100 grams (3.5 oz) butter
100 grams (3.5 oz) honey
1 egg yolk
3-4 Tbsp whipping cream
a lemon peel, grated
260 grams (9.2 oz) flour
8 grams (.3 oz) baking powder
red currant marmalade
confectioner’s sugar

1. Knead all the ingredients (except the marmalade) into a dough. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator 2 hours.

2. Roll the dough out to a thickness of 2-3 mm (1/8″) on a floured surface. Use a round shape to cut circles out of the dough.

3. Place the circles on a cooking sheet lined with baking paper, and cut three small holes in half of the cookies (I used a straw to cut the holes in mine).

4. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, at 200 C (392F) until they are golden yellow, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

5. Take a cookie without holes, flip upside down, and spread marmalade across the top. Place a cookie with holes on top and dust with confectioner’s sugar. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Recipe: Vanille-Mohn-Kipferl

Kipferl: clearly, they don't have to be perfectly formed to taste good.

Kipferl: clearly they don’t have to be perfectly formed to taste good.

These cookies are very popular at Christmas time: my son’s class made them to hand out to the parents at their Christmas program, and my Austrian friend gave me a box of kipferl that she’d made as a Christmas present. This is her recipe, in fact.

200g (7 oz) cold butter
75g (3 oz) icing sugar
Between 1 1/2t to 1T vanilla sugar*
250g (9 oz) cake flour
100g (4 oz) poppy seeds
1/2t cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
icing sugar for dusting

1. Cream the butter, icing sugar, and vanilla sugar until pale and fluffy.

2. Combine the flour, poppy seeds, cinnamon, and salt and add to the butter mixture in three batches, thoroughly combining after each addition.

3. Add the egg yolk and mix until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest in refrigerator for 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 180C (350 F). Divide the dough and roll it into finger-thick sticks, then cut the sticks to a length of 3 cm (about 1 1/4″). Form the sticks into crescents and place on baking sheets lined with baking paper.

"Finger-thick sticks cut into a length of 1 1/4", then formed into a crescent.

“Finger-thick sticks” cut into a length of 1 1/4″, then formed into a crescent.

5. Bake for 10-15 minutes (when the edges are brown and the curved part starts to brown). Take them out of the oven, let cool slightly, and then sift icing sugar over the cookies.

*The original recipe calls for 1 1/2t vanilla sugar, but my friend said she used 1T instead. I made mine with 1 1/2t and could taste the difference. I prefer my friend’s version with more sugar but my kids gobbled up the ones that I made, so I guess it’s to taste.