My school will be hosting 'Cultural Days', for two days this week. While the sophomores are doing state testing, all other grades will be getting to experience different cultures. The students will visit a total of six countries, in two days. I will be sharing my love for the Czech Republic with them. I am going to give a 'background' presentation, so they can see what the country is all about. We will have an egg decorating craft. However, they will not be decorating real eggs. These ones are paper. There will be a language lesson, a game, and hopefully a dance... if I can remember the steps in time.
I created passports for all of the students. Inside, students will find an explanation of 'Cultural Days', a world map, 6 pages to document their experience, a top 10 places to travel list for them to create, and a spot for them to get their passports stamped. I am pretty excited about it. I hope that the students will be as well.
To top my lesson off, I will be offering each student Pernicky (per-nit-ski). It is kind of like gingerbread, minus the ginger (you can totally throw ginger in too! I did, when I ran out of star anise). You will find star anise, aniseed, fennel seed, nutmeg, and allspice in mine.
The next time I make this recipe, I want to try it with rye flour. I have some on hand, but I'll need to experiment with quantity, as it is different than all purpose flour. I believe that true and authentic Pernicky uses rye flour. I hope that you will give these a try. They are not exactly like the ones that I ate in Prague at Christmas time, but they are a close second!
Get creative with your designs! I could not think of anything fun... I have to work on my decorating game!
I converted and changed up the recipe. The original can be found here:
2-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup confectioners sugar
3 Tablespoons honey ( plus more if dough is a bit dry)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground star anise
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground anise seed
2 egg whites
2 cups confectioners sugar
1. In your electric mixer bowl, combine four, baking soda, star anise, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and ground fennel seed. In another bowl, cream together butter eggs, sugar, honey, and ground anise seed.
2. While mixing, slowly add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients until a firm dough forms. (This is where I added a bit more honey, if my dough was still a bit crumbly and not sticking to itself.) Form it into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (I let mine chill for a few hours.)
3. Once chilled, divide the dough into two and roll each half out on a floured surface (into about a sugar dough thickness (1/4-inch), the cookies will puff up while baking), and cut your shapes out. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
4. Place your cut out shapes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake about 7 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool completely before icing.
5. To make your icing, whisk 2 egg whites until stiff white peaks form, then slowly begin to add sugar. Spoon that mixture into your piping bags and decorate your cookies. This icing is great as it dries hard, just make sure you give it enough time to dry.