Šape are one of the most loved, traditional Bosnian treats. When translated to English, šapa (sing.) simply means a “paw”. The old tins were shaped like bear paws, hence the name. I remember playing with my grandmother’s šape tins when I was a little girl. They had that gray and brownish patina from years of use and I wish I had somehow saved them…Today the tins come in all different shapes and can be purchased here. A madeleine tin can also be used to make šape.
Bear paws are made from simple ingredients, readily available in every household. Biting into a šapa can instantly take me back to my grandmother’s little kitchen, with wooden floors, green credenza and an old tin box she kept them in. Šape are made for birthdays, feasts, weddings, christenings, Christmas and almost every other special occasion. They are sort of a shortbread cookie, originally made with lard, but are just as good made with butter. Traditionally, walnuts are used in the cookie, but I’ve seen them made with shredded coconut, poppy seeds or spiced with cinnamon. The crumbly dough is pressed into tin forms, placed onto a cookie sheet, baked and tossed in powdered sugar. They simply melt in your mouth!
Šape or Bear Paws
- 120 g /4.2 oz lard (or 140 g /4.9 oz butter)
- 120 g / 4.2 oz sugar
- 1 vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 1 egg
- 120 g / 4.2 oz ground walnuts
- 300 g / 10.5 oz / 2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 13 g / about 1 tsp baking powder
- A few tsp of milk (if needed)
- 1 – 2 tbsp honey (optional)
- Powdered sugar
- Baking tins
- Butter (melted) to brush the tins
- Beat lard (or butter), sugar and vanilla for about 3-4 minutes, then add egg and lemon zest and mix for couple of more minutes.
- Add ground walnuts.
- Combine flour and baking powder; add to the lard mixture.
- The dough will be crumbly. If too dry, add a tbsp or two milk
- Brush the tins with melted butter, fill them about 2/3 with dough.
- Place the tins on a cookie sheet and bake at 180 C / 355 F for about 15 minutes or until golden-brown color.
- Let them cool down for a minute or two, remove from tins and liberally dust with powdered sugar.
Enjoy with a cup of coffee, tea or dip in milk! 🙂
29 thoughts on “Šape…or…Bear Paws shortbread cookies”
These sound so good Sibella! I love hearing about your food memories. The little metal tins are so pretty, too.
Thanks Korena! I am glad to share my little food stories from the times when everything was just a bit better and more genuine (or I like to think so). These tins I also used to make tarteletts with cream cheese filling and fresh berries. I wish I had my grandma’s old tins tough, I wish I wrote down every story and every single recipe she told me about… When you’re young you don’t think about these things I guess 🙂
Sibella, I really like the recipe ingredients… walnuts, honey, lemon zest… yummy. These šape tins are so cute with all different shapes. Delicious and nostalgic post of childhood memories. 😀
Thank you so much Fae! 😀
My mum has the same metal tins in your picture Sibella , your post put a big smile on my face 🙂 I love reading recipes that come with sweet memories like this one
Thank you Sawsan! 🙂 I think my fondest memories are connected to making food with my mom or my grandma. I wish I wrote down all the good things that they had to say back then. Both of them are gone now…
I think I will give those a whirl! ❤
I hope you do, they will not disappoint! 😉
Oh these are so beautiful!
And like you – I wish I had some of the old tins from days gone by – the ones with the patina of wear on them. Why was it that once we all thought it was a good idea to give the old baking tins away and buy shiny new ones?! Live and learn!
Yes, I agree. I wish I kept all my grandma’s dishes. Back then I just thought they were outdated and ugly (shaking my head)… YES to live and learn! 🙂
I have a whole bunch of those little tins in the pantry. Now I know what they’re for. The pastries look delcious. Thanks for the lesson.
Thanks Darryl, now you know what you can do with them! 😀 I also use them to make mini tarts (pie dough, cream cheese filling and fresh berries on the top).
What pretty little dainties, Sibella. And they feature nuts like your previous cake post did. Nuts do add a special touch, don’t they!
Thank you Kathleen! You are right about nuts! I really love to used them in my baking. 🙂
Oh, I love Šape! They remind me of my grandmother in Croatia, she used to make them and the were soooo good. ❤
So did my grandma in Bosnia! Good memories! 🙂
steta sto ti nije blog i na bosanskom, posjetila bih ga sigurno pocesto 🙂
Znam Edina, dugo sam razmisljala da li da pisem na oba jezika, ali mi oduzima previse vremena. Probacu vidjeti moze li se ukomponovati google prevodilac. Hvala ti na posjeti! 🙂
I love your little tins, adorable. I love hearing about the history of your dishes and recipes. I bet these little delights did not last long in your house with teenagers.
Thank you Bobbi! They were gone with the speed of light (I am sure you can relate)!!! 😀
It is wonderful how food keeps memories alive…love the history of this recipe.
Thank you very much Karen! 🙂 I think my favorite treats are the ones that I first time had as a child. 🙂
Hi Sibella, the small tins are so adorable, makes the shortbread cookies look really cute. I’m sure they are delicious as well! Thanks for sharing with us the history of these treats!
Hi Jasline, great to hear from you! 🙂 Yes, these have quite a history. Even though really simple they are one of my favorite treats! 🙂 I hope you are doing well, sending love to you!
Hi Sibella, yea I haven’t been able to keep up with everyone’s posts, I’m already struggling to try to post regularly. Thank you for your love! I hope you are doing well too, sending many love back to you, take care!
Thank u, I lost my nan 3 months a go and I rely wanted to make them but I did not no how… And now I do. U have so manny thing that my nan mad on this site thank u. My nan even had the same tins.
Aww,I am happy that you’ve find some recipes that can remind you of your nan. I am sure she would be happy to know that you now can make many of her recipes! 🙂
Hi Sibella, Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. My mom passed away three years ago and she used to bake these for all special occasions. I have her metal tins but could not find her recipe. Your recipe looks like it’s the one, thank you!
It’s my pleasure to share this recipe. Like everyone else from Bosnia/Yugoslavia I grew up with having sape for every special occasion. They are my childhood favorite! Hvala puno na posjeti i puno pozdrava! 🙂