Annual Christmas Cookie Baking Day

A few years ago, my nana and I started our annual baking day. We get together and baking dozens of Christmas cookies (I’m talking upwards of 15 dozen). It takes the whole day and by the end of it, we’ve eaten our own weight in cookie dough.

We usually try out one or two new recipes, but this year we did something new. My nana taught me how to make a family favorite – kiffles.

 My nana's recipe, in the recipe book that my papa bought for her on Christmas many years ago.

My nana's recipe, in the recipe book that my papa bought for her on Christmas many years ago.

Kiffles are kind of a pain to make (seriously, it’s a two-day process), so my nana only makes them at Christmas time, but let me tell ya, they’re incredible. I was so excited to learn her recipe and now, I’m excited to share it with all of you.

Never heard of a kiffle? They’re a flaky, delicate Hungarian Christmas cookie made of a dough rolled thin, covered in powdered sugar, spread with jam or walnut filling, rolled up and baked to perfection. These are perfect for holiday parties or to give as gifts. This recipe also yields about 4 dozen kiffles, making it a great recipe for cookie exchange parties too.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 package of cream cheese
  • ½ lb margarine
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 cups flour

Filling

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 lb ground pecans
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 drop vanilla

Recipe

  1. Cream the cream cheese, margarine and egg yolks together with beaters then add flour.
  2. Mix the flour and creamed mixture with your hands and shape into a ball (traditionally, you'd make a bunch of one inch balls, instead of one big ball, but, my nana says she's been doing this since my mom was a kid and this method tastes just as good but takes way less time).
  3. Place the ball of dough in a container, cover and chill overnight.
  4. Roll the ball of dough (or individual balls if you decided to do this the hard way) out onto powdered sugar.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. In a pot, on the stove, add a small spoonful of butter.
  7. Add egg whites, ground pecans, sugar and vanilla into the pot and cook for about 5 minutes. The mixture will be firm but spreadable.
  8. If the mixture is becoming too stiff, you can add a little bit of milk to thin it out. 
  9. Spread your pecan mixture on the rolled out dough.
  10. Carefully roll dough to form a log (or roll individually if you made smaller balls).
  11. With a sharp knife, cut the log into 1/4 inch slices.
  12. Places rolls onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

These may take a little bit more work than your typical Christmas cookie, but they're totally worth it. Do you think my nana would have done this for more than 40 years if they weren't?

From my family to yours, we hope you enjoy the kiffles and have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.