December 22, 2007

Grandma Nanny's Kifli and Sand Tart Cookies

My grandmother always made Kifli (Hungarian Walnut Cookies) every year at Christmas. These wonderful walnut-filled cookies were a favorite in our house. Each year, my grandmother would send us a package containing Kifli, Sand Dollar cookies, and homemade egg noodles. A few years ago, I decided to try my hand at both cookies and they turned out delicious (though my Kifli didn't turn out as pretty as Nanny made them -- they were still yummy.) I haven't made her noodles yet, but do have her recipe. I might just try them this year -- maybe for New Year's dinner. Hmmmm.....sounds good!

Here is her recipe for making Kifli.

Kifli (Hungarian Walnut Cookies)
Yield: 6 Dozen

4 3/4 cups Unsifted all-purpose flour
2 cups Butter or margarine
4 large Egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 cup Sour cream

1 1/4 lb Shelled walnuts (about 5 Cups), ground
1 cup Granulated sugar
1/2 cup Milk
1 tbl. Almond extract

1 large Egg, beaten
Confectioners' sugar

Make dough: in a large bowl, place flour and butter. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg yolks and sour cream; stir with a fork until combined.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board or pastry cloth. Knead dough with your hands until it is smooth and can be shaped into a ball. If dough is too sticky, knead in more flour. If desired, wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Make filling: in a medium-sized bowl, place ground walnuts, granulated sugar, milk and almond extract. Using a wooden spoon, stir in walnut mixture until ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease baking sheets with solid vegetable shortening.

To shape Kifli: divide dough into quarters; wrap three of quarters separately in plastic wrap and set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out remaining quarter of dough to a 15" x 12" rectangle that is 1/8" thick.

Using a pastry wheel, cut rectangle of dough into 3-inch squares. Place a heaping teaspoon of walnut filling in center of each square; bring one corner of dough over filling to opposite corner; pinch edges together.

Place Kifli on baking sheets; brush with beaten egg. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Remove from baking sheet. Fill bottom of a pie plate with confectioners' sugar. Roll Kifli in sugar. Let cool on wire racks. Repeat steps with remaining three quarters of dough.

Here is the recipe for Sand Dollars (with Walnuts)

Walnut Sand Tart Cookies


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg, separated
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Walnut halves or Almonds if you have them


Beat 1 cup softened butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, beating until well blended. Add 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk, beating until blended.

Combine flour and baking powder. Add to butter mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Shape dough into a ball, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 1 hour.

Roll dough to an 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut with a 3-inch round cutter. Place on lightly greased, parchment paper-lined baking sheets; brush with lightly beaten egg white.

Stir together granulated sugar and ground cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over cookies. Gently press walnut half into the center of each cookie.

Bake at 350° for 4 minutes; remove pan from oven, and gently press walnuts into cookies again. Bake 4 more minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I just have to leave a comment since you have blogged about my two favorite Christmas cookies that no one has heard of! My maternal grandmother passed down her kifli recipe (which is very similar to yours.) She isn't Hungarian, but grandpa is, so she became very good at kifli, kolach, and cabbage rolls for him. :) My paternal grandmother is the source for "sand tarts". She would roll them, cut into Christmas shapes, and decorate with red and green sugar.

Anyway, thanks for this post! My kifli are made, and now I'm inspired to try to pull off a batch of sand tarts before Friday!