After Food52 had voted Vanilice No One in the “Holiday Cookie World”, we tried may different cookies, and finally had to admit – Vanillice are the best!

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Grandma’s Vanilice

When I hear about Christmas, I automatically associate the word with the flavor of Vanilice. It is a soft type of cookie my grandma makes each year, which reminds me of my childhood and winters spent at my grandparents.

Grandma is a true artist when it comes to making sweets, not because she makes them sophisticated, but more because the treats made by her have an amazing taste. Just like Vanilice, a delicious cookie that never misses from my winter holidays, due to her. Of course, especially when I miss by grandparents, I prepare the cookies even if Christmas is nowhere near. The ingredients are highly available, and the soft cookie can be perfect for guests, or a cup of tea.

Vanilice is a Serbian cookie with a long tradition, my grandma knowing the recipe from her mother, who had Serbian roots. I see so many types of modern looking desserts, people trying to make them each time more sophisticated, forgetting that old recipes can provide a simple but extraordinary dessert. So I am more than happy to share this with you because I believe that Vanilice should not be forgotten. It is something you can prepare so fast, and it looks fantastic also, making this cookie suitable for any occasion. I know that I asked grandma to make me some Vanilice each time I used to visit her, loving to spend the time together preparing this scrumptious dessert. I assume I got my passion for cooking from her, spending a lot of time watching her cook and being her trustworthy assistant.

To prepare Vanilice, all you need is butter (or lard), two whole eggs, the juice of a half of lemon, sugar, minced walnuts (optional), and white flour. I can see grandma right now, mixing the butter with the lemon juice effortlessly, back in the days when mixers were not so common. She then added sugar and mixed again. I watched her every move while she was telling me stories, absorbed by what she was doing and mesmerized by the merging butter and brown sugar flavors. When everything was turned into a fine cream, she used to add the minced walnuts and flour. I was the enthusiastic little helper when we had to crack the walnuts and mince them. Grandma used to make every task seem easy and fun, as time passed by so nicely in her company.

When the dough was ready, it came by favorite part. Grandma used to stretch it flat on the table, and I got to cut the cookies into various shapes. She even bought me a beautiful set for making cookies, which had multiple cookie cutting shapes I could have fun with.

Once the Vanilice cookies were cut, they were put in the oven for about 15 minutes, or more. The gentle eyes of grandma, her unlimited patience to answer all my questions, the joy on her face when making cookies for me, and the mouthwatering flavor that was coming from the over, these are dear memories of my childhood. But the work is not done yet, with the Vanilice. Once the cookies were out of the oven and cooled down, grandma used to make sandwiches out of two cookies, putting rosehip jam in between.

The flavor of this jam always remembers me of her, and I have to admit that I do call her now and then to get a jar of her magic jam. Finally, the sweet Vanilice sandwiches suffer a powdered sugar bath, in which grandma always added some vanilla flavored powdered sugar, for an unforgettable taste.

Thank you grandma!

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