Thursday, March 18, 2010

Czech Cakes

The geographical name of this yummy bar cookie puzzles me.

Are they really Czech?  I have no idea.  Neither did my Latvian grandmother, who baked them all of her adult life.  (And she lived to be 103!)  Where did the recipe come from?  She didn't know.  It just seems to be a part of the collective consciousness of her culture.  Every Latvian woman I know makes these.

This recipe was one of the first things I learned how to bake, many eons ago.  I'm visiting my brother tomorrow and this batch is for him.  I'm such a considerate little sis.  :)

2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons good-quality, potent, ground cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped pecans
(I suspect the original recipe used a different type of nut.  But she always used pecans.)
Strawberry or raspberry preserves, approximately 1/2 cup

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Cream the butter with the egg yolks and sugar; use medium-high speed setting on your stand mixer (preferable) or electric mixer.  I cream the mixture for five minutes.  This needs to be really light and fluffy.

Combine flour, cinnamon and pecans.  Stir into the creamed mixture until well incorporated.  (This is a very stiff dough!)

Pat half the dough into the prepared pan.  Spread preserves over the surface, leaving a 1/2" border around the pan plain.  Break off pieces of the remaining dough and scatter on top of the preserves.  Spray your hands with cooking spray and spread the dough evenly over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes or until pale golden.  The dough should be just cooked through.

Right after removing the pan from the oven, I score the the baked loveliness into 16 squares with sharp knife.  Cool completely before removing them from the pan.  Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
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  1. Boy those sure look good!! Yummy!

  2. do you think these would work w/o the pecans? sound yummy but the hubby is allergic.

  3. Adr, can Britt have walnuts? They would work well in this recipe. I've never had them without nuts. Let me know how it works out.

    FYI: Some people like these really sweet and increase the sugar to 1 cup.



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