How To Make Croatian Christmas Cookies – Two Ways

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

One of the things I love about Christmas is all the Christmas cookies. Today’s Croatian recipe is a bonus – it’s a two-for-one.

Croatian Recipes Croatian Christmas Cookies | Chasing the DonkeyWe are officially into the Christmas season. Advent festivities have kicked off in Croatia with the biggest celebration happening in Zagreb. One of the things I love about Christmas is all the Christmas cookies. Today’s Croatian recipe is a bonus – it’s a two-for-one.

Two of my favorite Croatian Christmas cookies. Like all other festivities in our house, during the lead up to Christmas the cake Mafia, lead by my mother, get their heads together and produce some spectacular Croatian cookies and other treats. We hope you like them.

Croatian Recipes Croatian Christmas Cookies | Chasing the Donkey

Christmas Cookies Recipe (Two Ways Jam & Coconut)

One of the things I love about Christmas is all the Christmas cookies. Today's Croatian recipe is a bonus - it's a two-for-one.


Jam cookies

  • 500 g plain flour (3 1/2 cups)
  • 300 g cubed butter (20 Tbls.)
  • 5 Tbls. cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 lemon juiced & the rind (no pith)
  • 200 g jam (2/3 cups) of your choice - we love plum!
  • Cookie-cutter. We like to use a star cutter with and without a center hole

Coconut Ball

  • 200 g of powdered milk (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup of sugar (you can use less if you wish)
  • 2 Tbls. vanilla extract
  • 120 ml water (1/2 cup)
  • 200 desiccated coconut (always use fine desiccated coconut so that it's easier to roll)
  • 125 g butter (9 Tbls.)
  • 100 g skinned & toasted hazelnuts (2/3 cup)


Jam Cookies

  1. Rub the flour and butter in a large bowl with your fingers
  2. Mix in the cream, egg yolks, salt and lemon juice & lemon rind with your hands until it turns into a pastry ball. Let it rest for 1 hour
  3. Warm the oven at 180°C. Prepare a baking tray lined with baking paper
  4. Roll the pastry out to a thickness of 3-4mm
  5. With cookie cutters cut out the shape of your choice. Remember to make an even number of cookies with and without holes
  6. Bake for about ten mins - or until light brown. Repeat until all the cookies are baked and allow them to cool
  7. Spoon the jam onto the cookies without holes - you can also use a piping bag to make the jam application easier. Add the second cookie on top - if needed add a little more jam to the center
  8. Finally, arrange the cookies on a plate and sprinkle them with powdered sugar or you could do as Christine - a reader suggested and brush the top with egg white, and dip them in ground walnuts, instead of the powdered sugar. Either way - dobar tek.

Coconut Balls

  1. Warm the water with butter and sugar in a medium-size bowl
  2. When it comes to a boil, simmer for another 5 minutes and set aside to cool slightly
  3. Add to the bowl vanilla, powdered milk and half of the desiccated coconut, stir through and pop in the fridge to cool - while you are waiting for it to cool
  4. Once cooled, roll the mixture into small balls - adding a skinned hazelnut into the center of each coconut ball
  5. Roll each of the balls into more desiccated coconut, place onto a decor

Comments (22)

    1. Its in this recipe too, but the lemon rind. Just give it that extra zip! We love ours with raspberry jam too, but im going to try plum this year.

    2. We also brush the top with egg white, and dip them in ground walnuts, instead of the powdered sugar.

    3. Christine Marie Howard-Henzel Ohh yes the lemon is a MUST. I actually add the whole rind…. yummy.

    4. Christine Marie Howard-Henzel Ohhh I’ll add that now as an alternative if you don’t mind :D Great idea.

      1. Rather like my raspberry thumbprints rolled in pecans. I love this look & will try this recipe for an upcoming Croatia Christmas Cultural that is coming to my town in CA.
        Big Slavic presence here in this farming town.
        Do you have a Croatian Cook Book published?
        Kerry Ruso Stringari

  1. Making me hungry! The jam cookies look delicious. I often see them in shops here in NZ and did not realise how simple it would be to make my own.

  2. About how many cookies does one batch make? I’m planning to try this recipe for a cookie exchange, and I need quite a few. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipes!

  3. I have a general question. In many (if not most) of the Croatian cookie recipes I find on the internet, the recipe calls for “vanilla sugar”. What is that equivalent to in the United States?

    1. Put a vanilla bean into a container holding granulated sugar. After several weeks the sugar will have a vanilla flavor to it. You can use a vanilla bean in which you have already stripped out the seeds or one that is completely whole.

    2. Its called vanilla sugar in English too. you can find it in any shop rite or other grocery store in the baking section.

  4. I would love to see the recipe for those star cookies. I used to make those but lost my recipe… crying over here 🤪

  5. Thank you for the jam cookies recipe! I’m hoping to make a batch for Christmas.
    I might be misremembering but I recall my Mom adding some ground almonds to the dough… we also brushed the cookies (filled with apricot jam) with egg white and added almond slivers. So many happy memories making these with Mom.
    If I were to add some almond flour – how much could I substitute in? Would I need to alter/add any other ingredients for the cookies to still turn out? Thanks again! Cathy

  6. It was awful. They were plain af: It’s just pie dough… with jam on it. Why would I want that?? Would not recommend, threw them out.

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