Czech Beehive Christmas Cookies
These twist on a traditional Czech beehive cookie are my family’s most prized cookie at Christmas. These Czech Beehive Cookies are a no bake cookie that are super special!
Building and holding on to family traditions is one of my favorite parts of the holiday and Christmas season. Baking cookies and brandied fruit cake is the top of my list when it comes to holding on to those family traditions. You’ve heard me talk about the brandied fruit cake that is adored far and wide. Now it’s time to finally share my grandmother’s recipe for her famed “Volcano Cookies”. These are a twist on a traditional Czech beehive cookie. These cookies are no bake, using a mold to press the chilled dough in, and then filling them with a buttercream mixture.
But over the years my grandmother made her own version that became the centerpiece for every cookie tray she gave out. As cookies go, they are a little bit of a labor of love, but the end result is one that will solidify them on your own holiday cookie tray!
What is a Czech Beehive Cookie?
A traditional Czech Beehive Cookie is made with nuts, vanilla wafers, butter, salt, and rum. It’s formed using a mold to create a beehive, or wasp’s nest, shape. The filling for a traditional beehive cookie is a custard based cream with butter, sugar, rum and egg that is cooked and cooled.
My version uses a cook and serve pudding to create the custard and allow it to remain room temperature stable for longer periods of time. It’s a break from tradition, but accomplishes the same goal.
Beehive Cookie Mold
The mold is unique, but can be easily found on Amazon or eBay. The beehive cookie mold comes in two parts. One is the exterior mold that is on a hinge and will open to allow for easier removal of the cookie when it’s formed. The other half if the cone that is used to create the divot in the middle of the cookie for the custard or buttercream filling to go.
There are alternatives and you can use to create this shape, like the interior of a small shot glass with a rounded bottom on the interior. The mold is helpful as it will open and more easily release the cookie dough. If you do use a shot glass, it is helpful to line the interior with plastic wrap so that it releases with a tug and will help keep the shape intact.
Ingredients for Czech Beehive Christmas Cookies
For the best results, weighing your ingredients is recommended. As I retested grandma’s recipe I also measured out the ingredients so that if you don’t have a kitchen scale you can achieve the closest results.
The traditional rum that Czech’s use for this is no often found in the States. For some people, they will substitute spiced rum for these cookies. But I always remember my grandmother using Myer’s Dark Rum.
And my family opts for a blend of pecans and walnuts, though tradition usually goes to walnuts. Use whichever you prefer, or as we do, a blend of both.
What Makes Grandma’s Really Special?
Lastly, Grandma made one more departure from tradition with her version of these beehive cookies. And that all comes down to why our family calls them “volcano cookies”. The addition of the maraschino cherries to the custard filling and the chocolate drizzle on top is what makes her version so special. These two things, the cherries in the filling and the chocolate drizzle on top, can be omitted if you want to keep to the more traditional version of this no bake Christmas cookie.
Beehive (or Volcano as we call them) Christmas Cookie Dough Base
- Mini Nilla Wafer Cookies
- Sugar + More for Rolling Dough
- Unsalted Butter, cut into cubes and chilled
- Pecans and Walnut Pieces
- Dark Rum
- Cocoa Powder
- Vanilla Extract
- Almond Extract
Cherry Buttercream Filling
- Cook and Serve Vanilla Pudding – do not substitute instant vanilla pudding for this.
- Maraschino Cherries, dried thoroughly on paper towels, and minced finely
- Unsalted Butter, softened
- Powdered Sugar, sifted
- Almond Extract
- Dark Rum
- Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, chopped finely
Tricks for the Perfect Beehive Cookie
- Chill the dough well – be sure your dough is chilled very well before rolling the dough balls into sugar and placing them in the mold. This will help them release easier from the mold and hold their shape.
- Chill the cookies again once they have been molded. At least 1 hour, or overnight in the fridge is even better! You can also refrigerate them uncovered and allow them to “dry out” slightly. This won’t leave you a dry cookie, but it will be easier to handle and fill when the time comes.
- Use mini Nilla wafers. One box will be enough for the cookie dough and still have enough leftover for the bases of the beehive cookies (or Volcanos). You can bake your own mini wafer cookies if you want, but Nilla wafers are perfect here, and the mini ones are just the right size for a base.
- Freeze them for later! This is the best thing about these cookies. They are incredibly freezer friendly. You can store them in an airtight container in the freezer for 2 months and take them out to serve at Christmas. This will help you save time during the busy holidays!
- Do Not substitute Instant Pudding. Cook and Serve pudding is a must. Instant will not hold up the same way and will “weep” or leak after sitting for prolonged periods of time.
- Prepare the pudding ahead of time. Make the cook and serve pudding ahead of time. To get the right consistency, use only 1/2 of the milk the box calls for. When it is finished and chilled, you will use 1/3 cup of the finished pudding for the custard filling. Eat the rest!
- Can’t find a cookie mold? There are alternatives and you can use to create this shape, like the interior of a small shot glass with a rounded bottom on the interior. The mold is helpful as it will open and more easily release the cookie dough. If you do use a shot glass, it is helpful to line the interior with plastic wrap so that it releases with a tug and will help keep the shape intact.
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These twist on a traditional Czech beehive cookie are my family’s most prized cookie at Christmas. These Czech Volcano Cookies are a no bake cookie that are super special!
Beehive (or Volcano as we call them) Cookie Dough Base
- 4 cups (240g) Mini Nilla Wafer Cookies, processed finely in a food processor
- 180g Sugar + 20g (or 1/4 cup) for Rolling Dough
- 1/2 cup (120g) Unsalted Butter, cut into cubes and chilled
- 1/3 cup (80g) Pecans and Walnut Pieces, processed finely in a food processor *SEE NOTE*
- 2 1/2 Tbsp Milk
- 2 1/2 Tbsp Dark Rum
- 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
Cherry Buttercream Filling
- 1/3 cup Cook and Serve Vanilla Pudding, prepared using 1/2 of the milk the box calls for.
- 6 ounce jar Marichino Cherries, dried thoroughly on paper towels, and minced finely
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cup (150g) Powdered Sugar, sifted
- 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
- 1 tsp Dark Rum
- 1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, chopped finely
- 1/2 tsp Crisco
Czech Volcano Cookie Dough
- Process mini Nilla Wafers in a food processor until finely processed. (Nearly powdery.)
- Process the pecans and walnuts in the food processor until very finely chopped (you can use one or the other if you have a preference, I choose to mix in both to this dough).
- In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, add in all ingredients through almond extract until a consistent dough forms. Scrape the bottom of the bowl at least twice while mixing to ensure they are evenly mixed.
- Cover and chill the dough for at least 1 hour.
Cherry Buttercream Filling
- Prepare cook and service Vanilla pudding according to the directions, but use only 1/2 of the called for amount of milk. Chill until cool.
- For the buttercream, with a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, whip the butter and powdered sugar on low until it is light and fluffy. This will take a few minutes, and require multiple scrapes of the bowl to ensure it is consistent.
- Add in the cooled pudding, and almond extract. Mix again until smooth uniform buttercream begins to form.
- Lastly, mix in the finely chopped cherries until evenly distributed in the buttercream.
- You can keep this at room temperature while you wait to fill the cookies. *If you are assembling these cookies the following day, you can refrigerate the buttercream, and beat it until smooth again before filling the cookies.
Volcano Cookie Assembly
- Roll a “Small Tootsie Roll” sized piece of dough in the remaining granulated sugar.
- Using a beehive cookie, or other pyramid shaped mold, press the sugar rolled dough into the mold and using second part of the mold, press the cone into the bottom. Twist the bottom cone to create the divet in the dough.
- Gently remove the formed beehive, or “volcano” from the mold and set it aside on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with all other dough.
- Chill the dough, to ensure that it holds together while you fill the cookies. You can also wait until the following day to allow the cookies to “dry out”, or chill them uncovered in the fridge overnight.
- Using a piping bag with a large opening, add in the cherry buttercream. Turning over each cookie, gently squeeze in the buttercream until the cookie is filled.
- Press a mini Nilla wafer to the bottom, with the flat side on the bottom so it creates a base for the cookie to rest on. Repeat with all cookies.
- Drizzle the cookies with the warm and melted chocolate. Set aside to set up.
- In a double boiler, or a small saucepan with a bowl on top set over an inch of boiling water, add in 3/4 of the chocolate. Melt gently until 90% smooth. Remove from the heat, and add in the remaining chocolate to create a temper, stirring in the rest of the chocolate until it melts with the residual heat of the chocolate.
- Lastly, add in the little bit of Crisco if you want to create an softer and most shiny chocolate drizzle.
To Store Czech Volcano Cookies
- These cookies can remain at room temperature and be served immediately.
- These cookies can be placed in an airtight container and placed in the fridge until ready to serve.
- They can also be frozen and stored in an airtight container. Serve immediately after removing from the freezer, they will soften to their original texture, or can be eaten frozen.
- Use cook and serve pudding for this recipe. Instant will not work as a substitute.
- You can also wait until the following day to allow the cookies to “dry out”, or chill them uncovered in the fridge overnight. They will hold together better for filling.
Recipe mildly adapted from my Grandmother Babi!
Keywords: Christmas Cookies, Cookies, No Bake, Chocolate, Cherries, Rum