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Monday, December 19, 2011

Making Checkerboard Cookies (Sachovnice)

Yesterday I finally got around to making some Czech checkerboard cookies. The linz dough recipe I used was out of Brizova’s cookbook, though I have seen similar recipes throughout the web. The ingredients are simple and minimal; flour, butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and cocoa. This preparation is simple and straightforward as the dough is divided in half before the cocoa is added to make the chocolate squares (checkerboard) or as the dark swirl (pinwheels). The other option with the light and dark dough is to make random cutouts to make a salami cookie. I liked Brizova’s recipe as it was easy to follow and required just a small list of ingredients.
Making the cookie was an enjoyable experience as I recruited my six year old to sift the flour, cut in the butter and work the mixer. The cookie dough was very crumbly and loosely held together and maybe that is the way it works with a linz dough. You really have to work the dough out to get the butter to moisten and bind every flour and sugar crumb together. The moisture from the egg yolks and vanilla really didn’t help as much as I expected. The cookies baked fairly quickly and brought forth a very festive appearance. I was somewhat happy with the results (see picture above). The challenge of getting the dough to stick together adequately may have explained why the finished products were susceptible to cracking. I found this out very quickly when I had a few checkerboard cookies break as I transferred off the cookie sheet. I enjoyed this cookie better when it was still warm out of the oven as opposed to the cooled down crumbly version.  As there are numerous sugar cookie varieties that taste much better, I would gladly make these checkerboard cookies again simply due to their fun appearance. 
Merry Christmas!

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