Pracny are a very typical type of Christmas cookies in the Czech Republic. Don’t let their simple looks fool you, they are very aromatic and full of flavor.
Pracny – also known as Medvědí tlapy (Bear Paws) – might look like just flour and some cocoa powder but despite their simple looks and the fact that they are easy to make, there’s much more to them. Pracny are made with walnuts and spices and they have very strong aroma.
Did you know that Czechology has a whole section dedicated to Czech Christmas recipes? Here it is.
The most challenging part of this recipe is to find the mold if you don’t live in the Czech Republic. This is what the mold looks like:
It’s a metallic mold in the shape of a paw or perhaps an elongated shell. You can use any other shape and even silicone molds. However, if you’d like to stay as true to the traditional shape as possible, I found one mold on Amazon that is very close – it’s this one (America) or this one (Europe). – Both of these links are affiliate links. If you happen to buy these molds, I will receive a small commission which helps keep this blog running so thank you if you do!
Once you have the molds, you don’t need to worry about anything because the recipe is really simple.
This amount of ingredients yields about one baking tray and half, if you want a larger amount, just double the amount of ingredients.
- 175 g/6.2 oz of all-purpose flour
- 140 g/4.9 oz of unsalted butter, softened
- 125 g/4.4 oz of powder sugar + more for sprinkling
- 75 g/2.6 oz of ground walnuts
- 2 tbsp of cocoa powder
- 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp of ground cloves
Instead of walnuts, you can use other type of nuts but traditionally walnuts would be used.
How to make Pracny
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until everything is well combined.
Press some dough into the molds but don’t fill the molds completely because the dough will raise quite a lot.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F, place the molds onto a baking tray and bake for about 7 minutes. You should turn the pracny out of the molds while still hot. Or you wait until you can just take the molds into your hand or you use a towel to touch them. If you have the traditional molds, you just need to turn the mold upside down and gently tap the edge of the mold against your working table and the cookie should easily drop out.
While pracny are still hot, sprinkle them with powder sugar or coat them completely.
If you make them several weeks before Christmas, put them in a box that you store in a cold and dry place, they will stay good for weeks.