From The Lobkowicz Library: A 17th-Century Czech Holiday Recipe
The following recipe for almond gingerbread cookies comes from an undated 17th-century manuscript in The Lobkowicz Library. Written in Czech, it contains recipes for pastry, preserves, stewed fruits, syrups and liqueurs. Since the 19th century, the manuscript has traditionally been attributed to Polyxena, Princess Lobkowicz (1566–1642). Though neither the work’s provenance nor a direct link to Polyxena have ever been proven – it is known that she did not write the manuscript, and the book actually contains the writings of several different hands – the volume has always been referred to in literature as “Polyxena’s Cookbook”.
Almond Gingerbread Cookies: An Excerpt from “Polyxena’s Cookbook”
Measure out sweet almonds on a scale and crush them to powder in a mortar, but less roughly than for marzipan. Then add some rose water. Take the almonds out of the mortar and mold them with your hands. If you wish to have the dough reddish, add some powdered cinnamon. To both kinds of dough, blond or reddish, add some butter. Form little doughnuts, thick as a finger and as big as you wish, flatten them, put on the wafer* and bake them in the oven. When they are half baked, ice them with shiny sugar**. After icing them, put them back into the oven. Make the shiny sugar as follows – take one egg white from a fresh egg, add three or four tablespoons, or more, of sugar, and half a tablespoon of rose water. Then stir until [the mixture] becomes as white as plain sugar. Ice the gingerbreads with the glazing, they become very nice. The glazing described above is used for the gingerbreads with added cinnamon; for the blond gingerbreads, add a little cinnamon to the shiny sugar.
*an edible wafer that functioned as parchment paper when baking