Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr 20 mins
Polish Easter Cookies. A softer version of shortbread, topped with almonds and cut into serving-sized squares. There is a variety of traditional toppings. Mazurka is usually colourfully iced and decorated with jam, nuts and raisins. Other decorations could be eggs done in icing, willow branches made of marzipan, chocolate flowers, or "Alleluja" or "Wesolego Alleluja" (equivalent to Happy Easter) spelled out in almonds. Also called mazurek wielkanocny (Easter mazurka, pronounced mah-ZOO-rek bi-el-ka-NUTS-ny); traditionally mazurek is only served as part of the breakfast feast after Easter Mass. Will keep for 2-3 weeks in a tightly covered container.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 4 egg yolks, hard-boiled
- 1 cup ground almonds or 1 cup ground walnuts
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1⁄2 lb unsalted butter, softened (1 cup)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 4 ounces blanched almonds, sliced
- 2 egg whites (optional)
- 1 cup powdered sugar (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- Sift 2 cups flour and sugar together into a deep mixing bowl.
- Use a spoon to push the egg yolks through a fine sieve into the flour mixture; mix well.
- Add the almonds, vanilla, and cream to flour mixture; and beat in 1/2 lb of butter, a few tablespoons at a time.
- Knead with your hands until dough is smooth and can be formed into a compact ball.
- Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Grease a large cookie sheet with the remaining tablespoon of butter; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of flour, tipping from side to side to cover completely and evenly.
- Turn the sheet upside down and tap on the bottom to shake off any excess flour.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/4" thin and place on buttered cookie sheet, using fingers to spread dough so it completely covers the bottom of the pan.
- Brush entire surface with egg, then sprinkle evenly with sliced almonds, gently pressing them into the dough (or if you used walnuts in the dough, you may prefer to use the meringue topping: if you do, beat the egg whites until stiff, then gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla, beating continuously; spread over the dough instead of the egg and nuts).
- Bake until pastry is golden brown (20-25 minutes).
- Remove from oven, and with a lightly buttered knife, cut into 2"x1" bars.
- Carefully transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.
I find it hard to believe nobody has tried these yet. They were definitely a hit with our family and friends. I come from a Polish background and am drawn to recipes from the region but that does not bias my opinion at all! The cookies were splendid, and next time I think I'll top them with raisins as well as the almonds!!