הולדצ'קס - ירחי הלימון של עלינו. הדר כרמלי
הולדצ'קס - ירחי הלימון של עלינו. הדר כרמלי
Recipe

Holcheks – Grandpa Alinu’s Crescent Cookies

Holcheks, crescent cookies from Austro-Hungarian cuisine, are a comforting, family favorite, which has been passed down through generations

My grandfather, Avri (Abraham) Levy, or in his original name, Alfred (Alinu) Ziss, was a Holocaust survivor. He was born in 1926 in the village of Urmín in Slovakia (now called Mojmírovce) and was a very talented and creative man: he baked, quilted and sewed, painted and above all – loved life.

During the war, my grandfather’s parents, Shlomo and Yolan (Ilana), found a farmer who agreed to hide them for money: the farmer hid my grandfather, his brother and his parents; my grandfather’s older brother left home and joined the partisans. At first the family slept in the farmer’s attic, but in September, when it got too cold, the farmer took them down to the living room where they slept in one large bed.

When the front approached the village, every farmer had to accept a number of German soldiers into his house. The farmer with whom they were hiding had to lodge three soldiers. These were extremely fearful and dangerous days. Later, all the residents went down into their basements. His neighbors also went into the farmer’s basement, so he enclosed a half-meter by half-meter corner in the basement, where my grandfather, his brother, and his parents hid for a whole day. After that the Russians came to the village and they went free. In total, the family hid with the same farmer for nine months.

My grandfather moved to Trenčín with relatives and then moved to Bratislava, where he joined the Hashomer Hatzair’s Aliyah company. He met my grandmother there and together they immigrated to Israel in 1947.

His mother, Yolan Ziss, immigrated to Israel on June 6, 1949 together with her son Yosef (Yoshko). She was the “great grandmother” of all the children of Kibbutz Shemarat, which was established by Holocaust survivors. The children of the kibbutz were without grandparents, so Grandma Yolan served as everyone’s grandmother.

Great grandmother – Yolan Ziss (in the middle first row) with her son Alinu (left), his wife Esther (right) and their children: Irit (middle, second row), Yaron and Tami (my mother). Kolace – Aleena’s lemon moons. Hadar Carmelli
Great grandmother – Yolan Ziss (in the middle first row) with her son Alinu (left), his wife Esther (right) and their children: Irit (middle, second row), Yaron and Tami (my mother). Kolace – Aleena’s lemon moons. Hadar Carmelli

Grandma Yolan passed on the recipe for these crescent cookies to Grandpa Alinu, and since Alinu’s death, we have been baking lemon-glazed crescent cookies at family events. These cookies are actually a type of torte cake, molded, with the help of a glass, into crescents, and have a soft and airy texture. On the net you can find different versions of them with a nut coating, but our grandfather’s version is coated with a lemon glaze, which gives them a sweet and sour taste.

Alinu and Esther in Bratislava, Slovakia. Before immigrating to Israel in 1947. Holdcheks – our lemon moons. Hadar Carmelli
Alinu and Esther in Bratislava, Slovakia. Before immigrating to Israel in 1947. Holdcheks – our lemon moons. Hadar Carmelli
Raz Carmelli (my daughter), Alinu’s great-granddaughter, eats Holdcheks (summer 2022): Holdcheks – Alinu’s lemon moons. Hadar Carmelli
Raz Carmelli (my daughter), Alinu’s great-granddaughter, eats Holcheks (summer 2022): Holcheks – Alinu’s lemon moons. Hadar Carmelli

Ingredients for Crescent Cookies

For the batter:

  • 5 eggs separated
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 7 oz (200 grams) butter room temperature
  • a pinch Salt
  • grated lemon peel from one lemon
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder 1 sachet

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions

  • 1. Heat an oven to 355F (180C) degrees and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

  • 2. Beat the egg whites with 1/2 cup of sugar to soft peaks (softer than for meringue) and set aside.

  • 3. In a clean bowl, beat the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar to a light mixture. Add the softened butter and lemon peel and stir until they are incorporated into the mixture.

  • 4. Add the flour and baking powder to the egg yolk/sugar mixture and mix until uniform.

  • 5. Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk/flour mixture to combine.

  • 6. Spread the batter on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the dough comes out clean; the dough should remain light in color.

  • 7. Meanwhile in a separate bowl, mix the glaze ingredients until uniform.

  • 8. Pour the coating over the baked mixture while still hot.

  • 9. Using a small cup, make circles out of the mixture, with each circle slightly overlapping the previous one, so that a crescent shape is formed.

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