Bear Paws Cookie Recipe (Classic Czech Medvedi Tlapicky)

Stack of chocolate with almonds
You'll love these chocolate almond bear paw cookies. Rebekah Logan / Getty Images
  • 60 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 36 cookies (18 servings)
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This Czech recipe for bear paw cookies or medvedi tlapicky is adapted from Joza Brizova's "The Czechoslovak Cookbook" (Crown Publishers Inc., 1965).

Bear paws cookies are popular at Christmas time when they become part of vanocni cukrovi (vah-NAWTCH-nee koo-KRAW-vee) or Christmas sweets. Some people roll these in vanilla sugar or confectioners' sugar, but I like to dip the ends in melted chocolate and use blanched slivered almonds for the "claws." Don't worry if you don't have a bear paw pan, a madeleine pan will work just fine.

What You'll Need

  • 2 sticks + 3 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup ground filberts (or almonds)
  • 8 ounces good-quality chocolate
  • Garnish: blanched slivered almonds

How to Make It

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Thoroughly coat three bear paw molds or madeleine pans (or make them in batches) with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa powder, and nuts. Add to the butter-sugar mixture, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Press dough into prepared pans and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean and the edges are turning slightly brown. Cool completely.

    You can serve these bear paws plain topped with extra cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar or vanilla sugar. Or you go the extra mile and add the claws.

    To create the almond "claws," melt chocolate and dip wide end of "paw" into chocolate, and place on waxed or parchment paper. Insert four slivered almond "claws" into ​paw while the chocolate is still wet. Let dry completely. Store covered in an airtight container.