Author Notes: Vanilice (pronounced vah-ny-ly-tseh ) are tiny Serbian cookies made for holidays and special occasions. Vanilice (which means “little vanillas”) are bite-sized walnut cookie sandwiches, with jam and vanilla scented powder sugar. Vanilice hold such a special place in Serbian cuisine and tradition, that in good-old days every self-respected lady of the house was expected to make a very special jam (usually rosehip or apricot) to be used for Vanilice. There are many variations of the recipe; here is the one my mom and I inherited from my grandmother, and then tweaked until it reached perfection. And before you go to work, a couple of important things: 1) you must get the best quality lard -- not the super-processed wax-looking one, 2) you must be patient and let Vanilice sit in a cool dark place for at least two days before serving -- not in the fridge, and 3) you must use a good quality firm jam -- unless you want your Vanilice running all over the place. Too many musts, but it will be worth it. - QueenSashy
Makes about 60 cookies
- 300g lard
- 250g granulated sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- Juice of one lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 250g ground walnuts
- 600g all-purpose flour
- Rosehip or apricot jam
- 200g powder sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- Two days before making the cookies, in a small bowl with a tight lid mix the powder sugar with the vanilla bean. Store in a dry place.
- In a mixer fitted with paddle, beat the lard with the granulated sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg, egg yolks, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add the walnuts and flour and beat until the dough forms. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 325° convection bake (350° regular bake). Place the dough on the parchment paper or work surface dusted with flour, and roll it out to a 1/4-inch-thick round. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small round cookie cutter (I use 1-inch or quarter-size cutters), stamp out the cookies and arrange them one inch apart on the baking sheets.
- Bake for about 12 minutes, so that the rounds remain white. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack or flat surface to cool completely.
- Once the cookies are cool, take a cookie round at a time, spread the jam on it and top with another cookie round.
- Roll each cookie-sandwich in the vanilla sugar. Put the cookies into a tin box, and wait for two days before serving.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Vanilla