When the moon rests high in the dark December sky, a light burns brightly in one Canadian kitchen. Soon, a familiar aroma will drift throughout the house, stirring up memories of home.
Practiced hands measure flour, eggs, spices, and the most important component—honey—to form the dough for the traditional cookies Ivana Smulikova has made since her childhood in Slovakia. Eleven years ago, her family of four moved to British Columbia with only eight suitcases among them. Much was left behind, but tucked in her heart was the recipe for her homeland’s classic confection.
Known under different names in other European countries (lebkuchen in Germany, taai-taai in Belgium), the cookies, called medovniky in Slovakia, look similar to gingerbread, but rather than molasses and brown sugar, they rely on honey as the sweetener. This natural ingredient also acts as a preservative, keeping the treats edible for several months.