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Happy weekend!! We are still busy over here with getting settled in. I know Ken and I will be utterly happy when we don't have to do anything extra to do...just a normal day-to-day routine plus our dates on the weekends. We will at least be on more of a schedule this coming week, as our kiddos start at their new school! And I've managed to get on a bit of a schedule with work, with just a few extra things on my to-do. I hope you all have a good weekend and enjoy some of my favorite links from the week. Grab a cup of coffee and sit back and relax. Image via Chevrons & Eclairs.

My Family Recipe for Hungarian Kifli Cookies {Step-byStep How to Make Kifli}


Every year my daughters and I make Hungarian Kifli cookies for Christmas. Essentially Kifli are rolled crescent-shaped cookies made with a yeast dough and filled with poppy seeds, nuts, or lekvar (jam). This picture above is from several years ago, but it's my favorite, because it was the first year my daughter Kylie was old enough to help with assembling the cookies. The process is time consuming, from making homemade lekvar (thickened jam) and prepping the poppy seed filling from scratch (though you can use canned poppy seed filling), not to mention getting the yeast dough just right; it's the reason we only make these once a year. Then again that's what makes them so special to me and my daughters. As the holidays approach we get excited to make (and eat) our homemade Kifli. Of course we always mail some to grandma to give her a taste of her home country.

From the homemade poppy seed filling to the yeast dough, these are my own recipes adapted over the years from traditional Hungarian recipes. The process might seem intimidating, and I'm not sure I'd recommend it for beginner bakers, but I've included a lot of step-by-step photos and instructions. If you love making Christmas cookies, try these Hungarian Kifli.

The yeast-based pastry dough for the Kifli needs to rest and chill for a few hourse or overnight, so let's start with the dough.

Ingredients for the Dough:

· 2 PKG. yeast

· 1/2 C warm water or milk for the yeast

· 2 TSP granulated sugar for the yeast

· 1 C butter & 1 C shortening

· 4 C all-purpose flour

· 4 large eggs, seperated (reserve the egg whites)

*powdered sugar for coating the cookies after baking

1. Soften the yeast in the warm milk & stir in the 2 tsp. sugar. Loosely cover with a cloth or paper towel and let sit in warm place until bubbly (4 min.). If you prep it in a small bowl (about the size of a salad bowl) it should bubble up to the rim. **Have extra yeast on hand in case you get a dud. If you haven't worked with yeast before, don't be intimidated. As long as you mix it with a warm liquid (milk or water) and "feed" it by gently stirring in a few teaspoons of sugar, it'll turn out perfect every time. If it doesn't, it just means you got a dud, which is why I always have back-up packets!


2. Cut the cold butter and shortening into the flour. Kifli dough is much like pie crust dough as it can be made with either shortening or butter. Some are made with sour cream. Just like when making pie dough, I prefer to use half and half (half butter and half shortening), that way I get the flakiness from the shortening as well as the extra flavor from the butter. To make it dairy free, simply use shortening in place of the butter.


3. Stir in the yeast mixture and the egg yolks. As pictured above, make a little "nest" for the eggs and yeast, then gently mix from the outside to the inside of the bowl until the ingredients are all incorporated together.


4. Shape dough into balls. *(You can cut the dough recipe in half for one batch. I like using the amount given, because it makes enough for me to make 3 medium-sized dough balls - one for each type of filling I use.) Lightly cover with a cloth and let rest about 30 minutes then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.

Traditionally Kifli and many other Hungarian sweet breads, cakes, and pastries are baked with poppy seeds. To me that is what makes it Hungarian at heart. Kifli is also traditionally filled with nuts or dried fruits and lekvar. I like to use all three fillings.


For the nut filling, you need finely chopped nuts. The rest is quite versatile. You can add in brown sugar, raisins, citrus zest, brandy, anything you like. Just keep it fairly dry and thick. Then use a rubber spatula to fold in 1 whipped egg white per 1 cup nut mixture.

The lekvar is basically a thick jam. It's common for Hungarians to make it with prunes or apricots. I like making mine with dried apricots or cranberries. Making the lekvar with dried fruit works better than simply using jam or canned fruit filling. There are some recipes that you can use store-bought jam for, but because of the shape of Kifli, a thin jam filling from the store can ooze right out the sides during baking. Using lekvar helps the filling stay inside the dough. Basically prep it how you would homemade jam only leave skin on and don't puree the fruit. I'll make a step-by-step recipe post devoted entirely to my personal lekvar recipes, but for now let's stick with the most important part - the poppy seed filling.

Ingredients for Poppy Seed Filling:
(makes 2 cups filling)

-1 cup poppy seeds

-1/2 cup milk (or dairy-free option)


-zest of one orange

1. Use a spice or coffee grinder to grind the poppy seeds.

2. Combine ingredients in saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened, stirring frequently(about ten minutes).

Instructions for Filling & Baking the Kifli:

1. Roll out the dough into a large circle at least 8". Use a pizza cutter or large knife to cut the dough into equal wedges and trim the outside of the whole circle if you need to even up the edges. Use the remaining reserved egg whites as an egg wash and brush over the entire surface.


2.  Dab about 1 tspn filling onto each wedge.


3. Roll each wedge up the same way you would a crescent roll. I like to take the outside corners and pulling them inward and over the filling, pinch them down onto the dough then continue rolling up the crescent. It really helps the kifli stay together.


4. Arrange on a baking sheet with the points tucked under. You don't have to worry about spacing (they aren't going to expand). Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.


5. Immediately drop them into a bowl of powdered sugar and coat generously then set aside on a cooling rack. You can store these at room temperature, and they also freeze well if you want to save some for a few weeks.



More Christmas Cookie Recipes 

Easy Snickerdoodle Toffee Chip Cookies

Last-Minute Sugar Cookie Tartelettes

Christmas Cookies: 12 Cookie Recipes I'm Dying to Try

 

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Comments

  1. Krisztina, they are almost like rugelach. Yum! I will try them once to see if it's as nice as my own Jewish rugelach.

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    Replies
    1. You're right! They're just flakier and as you can see I coat mine in about a ton of powdered sugar! Lol.

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  2. I remember making these as a child. Of course I mostly just helped grind the nuts in the hand-crank grinder. Then I would also be one of the major testers. Thanks for the memories.

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  3. My Grandma used to make these. They were wonderful. Using your recipe, I'll make a batch in her memory. Thanks Krisztina!

    Merry Christmas!

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  4. I am making these for the first time. My grandmothers and my mom have always been the ones to make these (we always use a walnut & rum mix for the filling). Now it's my turn to learn the recipe. I like your alternative fillings and will add those into the rotation from now on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks.:) Best of luck on the cookies!! I'm making mine with my girls this week.:)

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  5. Hi Kristina, My Mom used to make these cookies every year and she has passed away. I never watched how she made them. Can you please share how to make the prune Lekvar or where I can buy this please as well as the Apricot Jam or what kind of Apricot or Raspberry Jam I can use to put in these cookies please? I would appreciate it very much. You can also e-mail me on my private e-mail at kmd760@gmail.com. My name is Kathy Deegan and I would appreciate your help. Thank you very much.

    ReplyDelete

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