Kozuli – Russian Christmas Gingerbread

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Today icing decorated gingerbreads are coming into fashion. They are prepared for the holidays, given as presents, and even used for cake decoration. But few people know that Russia has its own tradition of cooking this delicacy with a deep history and meaning. The first kozuli were cooked by Arkhangelsk Pomors. These cakes were prepared with a certain ritual care, and often had the form of goats (koza), which explains the name of the cookie.

These cookies are a truly winter treat, because they are prepared solely during Christmas time. The whole family was involved in the process of cooking. Men kneaded dense rye flour dough which required long kneading and strong hands. Women formed different figures from the dough, which originally were three-dimensional, more like small toys. Many years later kozuli acquired a modern look of iced gingerbread and became flat. Every family had molds for making cookies. These forms were passed on from generation to generation. Children most of all enjoyed decorating cookies.

Originally kozuli were a symbol of fertility, happiness, prosperity, promised good hunting. That is why the gingerbreads were made in the form of domestic animals: goats, cows, horses. Kozuli were neither eaten, nor thrown out immediately. They were saved for a long time, and men sometimes took them to the sea as amulets. Kozuli were most often painted white. Sometimes to achieve red color, the icing was mixed with cranberry juice. Cooking kozuli was related to many traditions and symbols. For example, all animals had to look to the left side, and stripe symbolizing the earth was made under the feet of the modeled animals.

We can surely say that modern gingerbreads with various icings are the descendants of the ancient Pomor confectionery traditions. If not to delve into the recipes of the past, these cookies are easy to cook at home, gathering to their making and painting the entire family.

Ingredients for 50 cookies:

  • 12.35 oz flour

  • 5.64 oz sugar

  • 0.17 oz ground cinnamon

  • 0.17 oz ground ginger

  • 1 pinch nutmeg

  • ¼ tsp baking powder

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 3.88 oz cold butter

  • 1.77 oz honey

  • 1 egg

Directions:

Cut the cold butter into small cubes. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl or a blender to form crumbs. Add 1 egg and mix thoroughly. Knead the flour into a ball, cover with plastic film and leave in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Spread some flour over the working surface and roll the dough out to 0.4 inches (1 cm).

Preheat oven to 350ºF and prepare two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Cut out your favorite cookie shapes or use a glass for this purpose. Bake for 15 minutes and cool before glazing.

Glaze:

  • 1 egg white

  • 5.29 oz powdered sugar

  • few drops lemon juice

Carefully rub egg white with powdered sugar until smooth. Optionally glaze can be divided into portions and colored with different food colorings. Put the glaze in a special piping bag or a regular plastic bag, making a small thread in the corner. Pipe the ornament onto the cookies. Allow to dry for a few hours.

You can then pack the cookies in boxes and present to your loved ones, friends, colleagues and neighbors, or enjoy with a cup of tea in the family circle.

Bon appetite!

2018-01-27T19:00:02+00:00 December 29th, 2017|

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