Croatian Cooking: Licitar Recipe and Tips & Tricks

Croatian Cooking: Licitar Recipe and Tips & Tricks

October 14, 2018 1 Comment

In anticipation for the start of the festive season, we tried our hand at making traditional Licitarsko Srce! We absolutely love the Croatian tradition of making “gingerbread” (they technically aren't gingerbread) cookies and hanging them on Christmas Trees. Traditionally, young men gave these heart-shaped cookies to women they were fond of as a sign of affection. The licitar can be purchased at many souvenir shops around Croatia and in particular Zagreb.

Uppermoda Making Croatian Licitarsko SrcePhoto Source: https://www.licitar.hr/en/about-licitars 

While on our road trip around the US and Canada, we had the opportunity to make these ourselves and later realised that this was a pretty long process. If you are interested to try to make these yourself, ensure you allow around 1 week for the entire process to be completed. It wasn’t until we were half way through the recipe, that we fully understood how lengthy the process is.

I found the core recipe online at meanderbug website  which was originally from the Zagreb County Tourist Board.

We've added our key learnings (in blue) and photos to this original recipe based on our personal experience. We hope you like it!  

  

CROATIAN LICITAR RECIPE: 

Dough:

  • 2 pounds/1 kg sugar
  • 5 cups/6 dl water
  • 2 Tablespoons/ 3dkg of licitar yeast or baking powder
  • 4 pounds/2 kg of plain flour

Glaze: (Since gelatin is quite expensive, we only made half of this glaze recipe which was enough for all of our licitars)

  • 1 quart/1 litre water
  • Red food colouring
  • 4 1/2 cups/1 kg gelatin


Decoration: (we cheated and ended up buying pre-made cookie icing to speed up the process, however I would like to make the decoration by scratch next time 😀 )

  • Sugar syrup
  • Potato flour (we found this in the speciality section)
  • Food colouring


Yield: 60 Croatian Licitars

Timeline Process based on our experience:

 Uppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipe

Step 1:

Mix together dough ingredients and let stand about eight hours.

 

Step 2:

Knead the dough again and roll out on table with rolling pin. Cut the gingerbread with the gingerbread moulds. At this step, we created a hole at the top of the licitar using a straw in order to put the string through at a later stage. Place the cookies on greased and floured baking pan. Preheat oven to 175ºC / 350ºF and bake gingerbread several minutes (I baked them for 10 minutes). After baking, remove excess flour from the gingerbread and leave to dry for several days.

Uppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipe
Uppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipe Uppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipe

 Uppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipe

 

 Step 3:

Soak gelatin in water, mix well and cook in double-boiler until thick. I had trouble getting it to be thick and was later told that there is a specific temperature that the glaze needs to be for optimum glazing. This is the tricky part so if you have the chance to get this to the right texture please comment in the section below of how you achieved this result.

Uppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipe Uppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipe

Put a string through the hole in the cookie and dip the smaller licitar shapes into the glaze, remove them and hang them to dry (at least one day).

 

Uppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipe

Add Red Colour 

Uppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipe

We dipped all of the licitars into the glaze and double glazed them a few hours after the first glaze. We hung these on a handmade stand (photo below)

 Uppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipe

Step 4:

We found hanging the licitars a bit of a difficult process. We created a handmade stand (photo below) and strung string from pole to pole which we then tied the licitars too. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Try to minimise the string being dipped into the glaze as it becomes hard and difficult to tie
  2. When removing the licitars from the stand, cut one side of the string from the stand and slide all licitars off instead of individually untying them
  3. Make sure when drying the licitars, they don’t touch each other as they tend to stick together
  4. If the glaze is not at the correct temperature, it can cause a "gooey" look to the licitar

 Uppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipe

Tip: How to easily remove Licitars (point 2 above)

Uppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipe

Photo: Licitars are stuck together

 

Uppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipe

Photo: A "gooey" licitar (Point #4 above)

Step 5:

To decorate the licitar, combine the ingredients and fill a pastry bag and add the desired nozzle. When the decorations are dry, the licitar is finished. In the end, if you don’t like the creation, you may freely eat it!

We cheated at this point due to time constraints and purchased pre-made cookie icing. Once decorated, the cookies needed to dry for at least 4 hours before stacking. If you are transporting these, we separated the dry cookies with parchment paper and ensured these were stored at a cool temperature. They melted onto the parchment paper when they got too warm.

Uppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipe Uppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipeUppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipe
Uppermoda making Croatian licitarsko srce and recipe

We hope this recipe and tips and tricks make your licitar making easier! It is very rewarding and something really nice to give to your friends and family as gifts! Good luck and let us know how you go 😀

We have also made this tradition wearable with our handmade Licitarsko Srce Necklaces & Brooch and Custom Made Licitar T-Shirt!

If you wish to know more about us, you can find our product range at www.uppermoda.com. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to hear more about us and to stay up to date with events we will be attending and what new products we are releasing.

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1 Response

Kristina
Kristina

November 30, 2018

Love that you made these and shared your process with us! Totally appreciate your notes in blue! Hope to try them myself one day!

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