200g butter or lard (original grandma's recipe)
2 egg yolks
250g almond flour
250g finely ground walnuts
150g sweetener
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
150g confectionery sweetener
50g unsweetened berry jam
Vanilica is a bite-size vanilla sandwich cookie from the Balkans. It is a tiny buttery cookie commonly served during Christmas holidays and now it has its low-carb sibling.


1.For best results, all the ingredients should be room temperature.
2.Use a large bowl and your hand mixer to combine softened fat (butter or lard) with the sweetener. Beat them until they are creamy and fluffy.
3.Beat in the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and lemon juice, until evenly mixed.
4.Lower the mixer speed and start adding almond flour and ground walnuts. Mix until you get a soft (but not sticky!) dough. If it is still too sticky, add some more almond flour.
5.Such dough should be devided into 2 equal balls and wrapped into a plastic foil and refrigerated overnight, or at least for couple of hours.
6.Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
7.Start cutting out the cookies with a round 2-3 cm cookie cutter and place them 2-3 cm apart on the baking sheet.
8.Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes, until just before they start to turn golden around the edges.
9.Take the cookies from the oven, let them cool and transfer them to a wire rack to cool down completely.
10.When the cookies are completely cool, start filling them and making sandwiches. I used my homemade unsweetened raspberry jam, you can use any kind of berry jam, sweetened or not, as long as it is sugar-free
11.After you finish making cookie sandwiches, use confectionery powder erythritol to roll each sandwich, until they are all nicely coated.
12.I strongly suggest making these wonderful little treats a day or two before serving. They taste the best after spending some time together in an airtight container.

Vanilica (Little Vanilla Cookie) is a traditional cookie from the Balkans. Vanilica (pronounced VAH-ny-ly-TSAH) is a nutty and buttery sandwich cookie with a soft jam filling between two biscuits. There are numerous recipes for this simple cookie. Every family has its own recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation (kind of an heirloom). And every family has the best one, of course.

Vanilica is the type of cookie that reminds you of your childhood, family gatherings and holidays. No wonder it was named Best Holiday Cookie from Anywhere in the World by the Food52.com culinary website.

I made my first vanilica when I was 9 or 10 years old (with the help of my grandma) and some 20 years later I have created my own, low-carb version of this delightful dessert. Vanilica is already pretty keto-friendly because it is pretty high in fat. However, you need to make a few alterations. Start with substituting wheat flour with almond flour or some other nut flour/meal. Since jam is used as a filling, you should stick to unsweetened or sugar-free berry jams like Nature’s Hollow Sugar-Free Strawberry Jam. The original vanilica cookie is rolled in confectionary vanilla sugar. So far, I haven’t found vanilla tasting sweetener, so I used powdered erythritol and the result was pretty similar.

Final advice – It is highly recommended to make these cookies 1-2 days before serving, to allow the flavors to meld together and the cookies to soften.


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