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Baking with an ethnic flavor

Kolaches from Czechoslovakia and Chinese almond cookies provide an assortment of recipes. One almond cookie recipe is made with rice flour and the other is made with all-purpose flour. Lard is often used in making these crispy cookies, but shortening, butter or margarine may be substituted.

For: Sally Caldwell of St. Petersburg.

From: Debra Ann Faklis of Clearwater.

Recipe: Kolaches.

Kolaches

1 package active dry yeast

2 tablespoons lukewarm water (105 to 115 degrees)

1 cup lukewarm milk

4 cups all-purpose flour, approximately

1 teaspoon salt

{ cup butter, softened (1 stick)

\ cup sugar

2 egg yolks

Melted butter

Confectioners' sugar

Prune Filling:

1{ cups dried prunes

\ cup sugar

{ teaspoon cinnamon

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water; stir to dissolve. Add milk. Sift flour with salt. Work in half the flour and beat until smooth.

Cream butter, gradually adding sugar. When light and fluffy, blend into the first mixture. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Work in the remaining flour by hand. Add only enough flour to make a light dough. Place the dough in a greased bowl. Grease the top of the dough with some melted butter. Cover; let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 2 to 2{ hours.

Punch dough down, then turn out onto a lightly floured board and roll to \-inch thickness. Cut into circles with a 2-inch cookie cutter. Place 1{ inches apart on buttered baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about { hour. With thumb, make a deep depression in the center of each roll; fill with Prune Filling. Let rise 10 minutes.

Bake at 400 degrees 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to wire racks and brush buns with melted butter. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Makes about 36 kolaches.

Prune Filling: Cook and drain prunes. Pit and mash with a fork. Stir in sugar and cinnamon.

If you prefer a Cherry Filling fill each depression with cherry preserves.

For: Irene Evans of Port Richey.

From: Gertrude Raskauskas of Seminole and Dee Cotter of Clearwater.

Recipe: Almond Cookies from Myra Waldo's Oriental Cooking.

Almond Cookies

1 cup rice flour

{ cup light brown sugar, packed

2 cups finely ground blanched

almonds

6 tablespoons soft butter

1 tablespoon ice water

30 almonds

Sift rice flour and brown sugar into bowl. Mix in the ground almonds. Work butter in by hand. Stir in ice water. Break off tablespoon-size pieces of dough and shape into balls. Arrange on greased cookie sheet, 1 inch apart; flatten slightly and place almond in center of each. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, or until delicately browned. Makes 30 cookies.

Dee Cotter adds that she has used all-purpose flour successfully.

From: Ruth Momeyer of Dunedin.

Recipe: Chinese Almond Cakes from A World of Good Eating.

Chinese Almond Cakes

2{ cups all-purpose flour

} cup sugar

\ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

} cup lard (Ruth uses Crisco)

1 egg

2 tablespoons water

1{ teaspoons almond extract

Whole blanched almonds

1 egg white, slightly beaten

Into large bowl, sift first four ingredients. Blend in shortening with pastry blender. Beat egg, water and almond extract together; add to flour mixture and blend well. Form into balls about the size of a walnut. Place on cookie sheet and press with heel of hand to flatten. Press an almond on top of each cookie and brush cookie with slightly beaten egg white. Bake at 350 degrees about 20 to 25 minutes. Makes about 36. Check carefully after 17 to 20 minutes; they should be very lightly "tan."

Ruth adds that she has made these cookies for bazaars for many years. Perhaps she made the ones Irene Evans enjoyed.

Recipe Requests

Elaine Donald of St. Petersburg misplaced the column containing three versions of Better Than Sex Cake. Please send a copy for her.

When Dorothea Folger of Brooksville moved from Maine, her Gus Saunders' Cookbook was lost. Her two favorites, Gumdrop Cake (made without the black ones) and Uncle Rich's Chocolate Cake, are sorely missed. If you have these in your files, please share them with Dorothea.

Christa Burt of Seminole clipped a recipe for Sangria Base from this newspaper in the mid-1970s. She is eager to have a replacement.

If you have a cooking question or the answer to someone else's question, write to: You Asked For It, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, Fla. 33731.

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