Macedonia: Vanilici

And now we come to Macedonia!…finally!

Image result for macedonia flag

I apologize if anyone has been anxiously awaiting my next post! I’ve taken a little over a month off from this baking adventure due to some life happenings that needed attention, a job change, and some other projects that I focused on for a bit! And all that mixed with the lack of motivation I had for putting together a few blog posts, but I refused to let myself bake for the next country until I got the few posts done that I’ve been slacking on. So here we are! I’ve returned to grace your mental taste buds with pictures and words about food you can’t have!…unless you make it yourself. Lucky for you I include the recipes at the end! 😀
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Alright! Sooooo Vanilici! What the heck is it! How the heck do you say it? Ok well the later, I actually don’t know for sure, but judging from the source of my recipe, it’s like “Vah-neel-eetsee” or something along those lines?? As to the former, vanilici are kind of like little shortbready sandwich cookies. Covered in powdered sugar. Yus. But even though they have a generous dose of powdered sugar on them, they’re not actually overly sweet. They actually have a pretty mild flavor, with a nice dash of lemon in them. I’m actually not a huge fan of things with strong lemon flavors, but the lemon in this was subtle, but noticeable, and was quite lovely actually. The cookie dough itself was also quite lovely. And I’m talking the unbaked dough. Because cookie dough is basically a food group in my world. I mean…they were good baked too but..it was a nice snack as well. In small doses, of course! <_< >_>

Snitching bits of the dough aside, this dough was actually quite nice to work with. It was a very smooth and soft dough, and yet still stiff enough to hold it’s shape. It didn’t spread of rise much in the oven, so you can line them up pretty closely on the cookie sheet and not worry about having the pry them apart afterwards.

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I probably could have rolled the dough out a little thinner. I left it about 1/2″ thick, since the images I saw of these cookies were still pretty thick, but when I stuck them together, they were pretty tall. I think 1/4″- 5/8″ would have been perfect, but definitely wouldn’t go less than 1/4″. I’m not sure if there is a traditional flavor of jam to go in the middle. The recipe I followed, just said to use your favorite kind of jam, so I used what I had on hand. I filled mine with two kinds, half of them were filled with strawberry jam, and half were filled with blackberry jam. Both went well with the flavors in the cookies. I also used a circle cookie cutter that was about 1.5″ in diameter.

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I ended up baking them a bit longer than what the recipe suggested, which was 10-15 minutes. I’m not sure if it was my dough or my oven, but I wasn’t satisfied with the color of the cookies after the required amount of time, so I kept them in the oven a few minutes at a time, until they got slightly golden. Since these cookies have a similar texture to shortbread, they are naturally a bit of a dry treat, and would go nicely with a cup of tea! Classic European cookies!

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And now for some Macedonian facts and/or current events, as of June 2017!
-As is the norm in modern society, Macedonia has been enduring some tough political times recently. As a result of a portion of the conflicts, Macedonia is considering a provisional name change in order to join NATO. From my understanding of this situation, Greece is rather offended by Macedonia’s official name, which is “Republic of Macedonia” as I guess it “implies a territorial claim to the northern Greek province with the same name” and they have been unhappy about it ever since Macedonia took that name. Macedonia was admitted into the United Nations under the name the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in 1993, but I guess that has changed. In order to try resolve some of the disputes with Greece, Macedonia is considering changing its name, I guess to something that doesn’t so much imply owning part of Greece?? No official proposals have been made yet, but that will happen soon. Source.
-The political conflicts in Macedonia have been going on for a few years now, and here is a very brief rundown: In 2015, the conservative branch of the govt supposedly used national security services to wiretap tens of thousands of people for their own gain. Things went cray and the EU stepped in to try help diffuse the situation. The conservative PM, being under fire, stepped down and there was a snap election to replace him in December of last year. While all parties gained seats, no one had enough majority to win. Five months later, in late April, a parliamentary speaker was elected, and due to all the heat and conflict over finding a new PM, conservative protesters formed a mob, broke into parliament and physically attacked politicians, lawmakers, MPs and journalists, injuring at least 100 people. Dang. So there are a good few reasons why we, the rest of the world, might want to pay attention to this situation and how it unfolds, but I won’t take the time and space to outline them here, but I encourage you to check that out HERE.
-Literally all the headlines that cover pages of news results are about politics, the name change or a soccer game, and since I already covered the political stuff, and don’t much care for sports, here are a few fun facts about Macedonia! 1. Mother Teresa was born in there! She was ethnically Albanian, but she was born in Skopje, Macedonia in 1910. 2. It kinda has two flags. It’s current one (pictured above) has been used since 1995, but the years prior, it was a red flag with a smaller yellow sun in center….but they changed it cuz Greece claimed that design was historically Greek…. 3. “Macedonia was one of the only countries during the break up of Yugoslavia to remain at peace throughout.” Awesome! Find more facts HERE! or ya know…just google it.

Recipe time! I got my recipe from HERE! And as usual, I encourage checking out the original source to see the original poster’s own advice and comments!

Vanilici

Ingredients:

-250g margarine
-2 eggs
-4 tablespoons of white sugar
-600g plain flour
-the zest and  juice of one lemon
-a pinch of baking powder
-a jar of your favorite jam
-powdered sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C.
  2. Mix the margarine, eggs, sugar, flour, lemon and baking powder together and mix WELL.
  3. Roll the dough out to a thickness of your choice, it all ultimately depends on how wide your jaw can open. Cut circles out with a cookie cutter or glass, make sure they are all the same size.
  4. Bake them on buttered or parchment lined trays for around 10-15 minutes or until they are cooked through and a golden color. Let cool.
  5. Pair up all the cookies, and spread one of each pair with a thin layer of jam, then place the other, sandwiched on top.
  6. Gently dip or toss them in a dish/bowl of icing sugar until they are coated consistently.
  7. Serve your cookies with tea or milk and/or about eight other of it’s sugary friends.

 

 

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