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Recipe for Medvedie Labky

Originally broadcast on Sunday, December 13, 2020 @3pm EST

Baking with Janka/Pečieme s Jankou

(a dual-language event in English & Slovak)

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The Best of Slovak Advent & Christmas

The Slovak-American Cultural Center joined Slovak baker extraordinaire Janka Homrokova in her kitchen as she baked Slovak Christmas cookies "medvedie labky" ("bear paws"), made mulled wine and answered pressing baking questions.

To watch a replay of this event, click here.

Recipes for this event can be found below.

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Traditional Medvedie Labky ("Bear Paws") Cookie Recipe

This recipe is from a Slovak cookbook called "Mucniky" ("Desserts"), published in 1965. Links are included below to sites where authentic supplies and ingredients may be purchased. Do not be afraid to make substitutions, however, if necessary--e.g., walnuts or hazelnuts for almonds, regular flour for coarse flour, etc. The cookies will be delicious even with substitutions! This cookie is made with molds ("formicky") and thus produces a beautifully shaped cookie with varying depth. The molds are not expensive to purchase and are worth the investment! You will need roughly 70 molds for one batch of cookies. 

Recipe in Slovak Language


21 dkg masla

27 dkg krupicovej muky

10 dkg mandli

16 dkg praskoveho cukru

trocha mletej skorice

3 dkg kakaa

citronova kora

4 tlcene vonave klinceky

2 zltky

Maslo v muke na doske dobre rozmrvime. Pridame nelupane mlete mandle, cukor, mletu skoricu, kakao, postruhanu citronovu koru, tlcene klinceky, zltky a dobre vymiesime na cesto. Nechame hodinu v chlade odpocinut. Odpocinute cesto vtlacame do labkovych nemastenych formiciek asi do troch stvrtin. Naplnene dame na plech a pecieme v dobre teplej rure. Upecene nechame trosku vychladnut, byklopime z formiciek a posypeme praskovym cukrom.

Recipe in English Language

21 dkg butter --> 15 tablespoons butter

27 dkg coarse flour --> 1 1/2 cups coarse flour

10 dkg almonds --> 1 cup ground almonds (with skins)

16 dkg powdered sugar --> 1 1/8 cups powdered sugar

generous pinch of ground cinnamon

3 dkg baking cocoa --> 4 tablespoons baking cocoa

grated lemon peel from half a fresh lemon

4 ground cloves (or 1/2 tsp ground cloves)

2 egg yolks

This dough can be made in a large bowl (no need for pastry board or rolling pin). Combine butter and flour into crumbs (with two forks, pastry blender, or food processor). Add ground almonds, sugar, ground cinnamon, cocoa, grated lemon peel, ground nutmeg, and egg yolks, and work well into a smooth dough (first with a spatula, then by hand). Form dough into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes to make the dough easier to work with. To press dough into ungreased molds, break off a piece of dough, roll into a ball and dip in flour to lightly coat, then gently press into mold to about 3/4 full (no need to jam the dough into the mold, as you will want the cookies to easily come out). Place filled molds onto a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for roughly 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool until molds can be handled safely. Gently knock cookies out of the molds. If they are sticking, gently pry tip of cookie with tip of a sharp knife. Serve dusted with powdered sugar or decorated to look like bear paws (see photo above).


Cookie molds & Slovak coarse flour:

Kitchen scale (so you can measure in dkg):

Pastry blender:

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Mulled Wine Recipe

Mulled wine is an ancient drink, believed to

have originated in the Roman Empire as an

aide to warming up during the winter months.

As the Roman Empire expanded into Europe,

knowledge of the drink spread there as well.

Today mulled wine is served at outdoor

Christmas markets in Slovakia, but it works

well indoors too! So easy to prepare, yet so

declicious. Buy a mulled wine spice mix, or

prepare from scratch as below.

Click here for a home-made recipe:

Mulling Spices Mix:

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