One of the ways in which the Czechs lead the entire world is their strict dedication to delicious Christmas pastries. “Vánoční cukroví,” or “Christmas cookies” in English, are not just a comforting indulgence for the holidays, but an important skill and social custom that bonds people together.

With the amount of love they put into it, it’s rude and selfish to turn down a Czech grandma who offers you cukroví, so don’t even think about it. It doesn’t matter if you’re already full, on a diet, or diabetic. You better grab at least 3 of those cookies.

Usually, vánoční cukroví come in large assortments so choosing which one you want can be nerve-wracking. To help narrow things down, here are the 5 best ones. 

5. Linecké cukroví

Photo: Martin Strachoň / Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

 These are two pieces of icing sugar sprinkled shortbread with jam in the middle. The top piece of shortbread has some sort of shape cut out on the top like a heart, star, or Christmas tree to reveal the jam underneath. 

4. Perníčky

Photo: Marek Blahuš via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Perníčky is basically Czech gingerbread. It’s similar to regular gingerbread from the US or the UK but doesn’t actually contain ginger, and is chewier. It usually gets its kick with cinnamon, anise, fennel and cloves. Great if you don’t want something to rich and sweet.

3. Včelí úly

Včelí úly, or “beehives”, are little beehive-shaped rolls made from a mold, and have a hard, crunchy texture. Made with biscotti and hazelnuts, they’re a classic snack to compliment coffee and tea. 

2. Vanilkové rohlíčky

Photo: Bedinek/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

Technically these are Austrian, but the two countries used to share territory so some of their Christmas snacks and traditions overlap. Outside of Central Europe, these types of goodies are sometimes known as “moon cookies,” but the Czech ones are better.  Vanilkové rohlíčky are crescent-shaped short bread cookies heavily dusted in vanilla and icing sugar. 

  1. Sádlové cukroví

We gotta put sádlové cukroví at number one purely because they are made of lard, which makes it positively Czech. Sádlové cukroví, or “lard cookies,” are created by making a batter out of lard, sugar, and chocolate, baking the batter into a cookie with a little pocket in it, and then filling the pocket with jam. It’s an absolute masterpiece. 

There you have it. Hopefully next time you see a plate of vánoční cukroví you’ll know you’re doing. 

Featured image author: Rémi Diligent via Wikimedia Commons

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