Friday, November 19, 2010

Hungarian Walnut Cookies, week 8

I had intended to make and post a Kolachy recipe that I was going to try.  After having stumbled over it recently and realized that I had all the necessary ingredients  to make it, it seemed to be the perfect cookie to add to the tray this week.  The recipe called for a prune filling among other options.  I didn't have any of the options precisely, but I did have a container of prunes that was just the right amount to make my own prune butter.  Unfortunately, I managed to somehow render the prunes entirely inedible, charred as a matter of fact, in a very short period of time.  All this was done while following the recipe and letting it simmer covered.  Oh well, I know better for next time.

Since that was the last of the prunes I found myself suddenly needing to find another recipe.  I had already softened butter and cream cheese for the dough and while I cold have easily returned them to the fridge, I instead decided it was time for me to attempt to make a cookie I had first tasted in college.

One of my roommates shared these cookies and called them "Kiffles".  They were delicious.  These are one of my favorite cookies, right up there with Chocolate Chip and 7 Layer Rainbow Cookies.  Between those three I'm not sure that I could choose.  Unfortunately, due to a promise rendered to her Grandmother, my roommate was unable to share the recipe.  (I could go off on a long tangent about this practice of "secret" recipes, but I won't.  Suffice it to say that I dislike it.)  I have wanted to try to make these for years, but because of how good the secret recipe version was, I was reluctant to try and fail.  Boy was that foolish because these were at least as good as her version.  That means I could have been making my own all this time.

After reading through dozens of versions in the years since I first tried these, I had a pretty good idea of the ratio of ingredients, so the following is more or less my own.  The interesting part about these cookies is their lack of sugar in the dough.  This is because you will roll them out with Confectioners, or Powdered Sugar instead of flour.  I have had these with various fillings (apparently they can even be made savory, who'd have known?) including both apricot and a walnut filling.  I believe that walnut is more traditional and that is what I have chosen to make this time.  One last note is there seems to be some discrepancy with their name.  I first heard them referred to as Kiffles, but have since discovered that they may be called Kifli as well.  I am not sure which is more accurate, but to me, they will always be Kiffles.

Kiffles or Hungarian Walnut Cookies
6 ounces cream cheese
1 cup butter
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 egg whites
8 ounces ground walnuts
1 tsp vanilla
pinch Salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration and assembly

1. In a medium bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. Stir in the egg yolks and vanilla. Stir together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the flour mixture a little at a time until it is fully incorporated. Roll walnut sized pieces of dough into balls (I used a 1 tablespoon scoop) and place on a cookie sheet that is lightly dusted with powdered sugar.  Lightly dust the tops of the dough and place in the fridge, covered, for at least 1 hour.

2. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, add the sugar, salt, walnuts, and vanilla.  Set aside.  On a surface lightly floured with Powdered Sugar, roll a ball of dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. (Add more sugar as needed to prevent sticking.

--For smaller cookies: Roll into an oval, cut the oval in half through the skinny middle and place a small amount of filling a bit off center.  Fold the dough over the filling and seal.  Twist of the sides and set on a cookie sheet, pulling the sides towards each other to form a crescent.

-For larger cookies: Roll into an oval/circle and place a large amount of filling in the center.  Roll up the dough around the filling in the same manner as for small cookies, twisting the sides and placing the cookie in a crescent shape.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes for smaller cookies or 10 to 12 minutes for larger cookies, until lightly browned. When cool, dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Don't forget to check out the other entries for this week!
Week 8 of the Twelve Weeks of Christmas:


  1. Oh man! I wish I had one of these right now! They look so yummy!

  2. How great that you figured out how to make these cookies and are now able to share the recipe with others. Sounds like you have some wonderful memories and can now make many more.

  3. These look great - and so different from the cookies I usually make. Might have to add them to the baking list!

  4. These sound great.. I'm going to have to try these since I've never had anything like this.

  5. OMG! These sound fantastic! I will have to make them!

  6. These look great. Love the story and all the work that went in to them.

  7. I love how good these sound! WOW!!

  8. Thank you, it was very satisfying to finally create my own version of these. I hope you all enjoy them! :-)

  9. I love walnuts so these sound fantastic! Thanks for sharing them!

  10. Thanks for your comments on my post. I have edited it and it now reads a little better. My apologies - obviously I was tired when I wrote that! A bit vague!LOL!

  11. I have an award on my blog for you. I hope you will accept because you so deserve it!

  12. i have never tried prune cookies before. But these with walnuts look incredible. I love the moonshape from these cookies!

  13. Oh, I remember those... the ones our friend made were delicious, and yes, I vaguely remember her promise to not reveal the secret (I too, hate that, and it seems to be cookie recipes in particular that this happens with). Anyway, I wonder what our friend would think if she read this post (I'm sure it wouldn't be anything negative, she's just not like that, as you well know). I'm glad these turned out. Hope to try them soon.
    -that annoying brother once more

  14. How nice to find this post!! I live in Hungary now, but I learned this recipie from my mother back in Romania. These are delicious!! Andrea


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