Kifli 80.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Holiday Cookies 2013 Dec 4, 2013

This is a rather delicate version of the classic Hungarian filled cookie for the holidays. For alternative fillings, see VARIATIONS, below. The recipe makes a big batch, but it can be cut in half. The cookies are quite small.

You might be tempted to skip one of the three flour siftings, but they help lend a wonderful lightness to the pastry.

Make Ahead: The dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour and up to a day. The cookies can be stored between layers of wax paper in an airtight container for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.

80 cookies

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 80 cookies

  • For the filling
  • 2 cups ground walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons regular or low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • For the pastry
  • 6 cups flour, sifted 3 times, plus more for the work surface
  • 6 tablespoons sugar, plus more for decorating
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup regular or low-fat sour cream
  • Finely grated zest from 1 lemon


For the filling: Combine the walnuts, sugar, egg whites, milk and raisins in a large saucepan. Place over medium-low heat; cook, stirring constantly, just until the mixture is well incorporated and heated through. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

For the pastry: Combine the flour, the 6 tablespoons of sugar, the baking powder and butter in a mixing bowl. Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to create a crumbly mixture. Make a well in the center; add the egg yolks, sour cream and lemon zest. Knead together to form a soft dough. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

(Alternatively, the dough can be made in a food processor; divide ingredients in half and work in two batches. Do not over-process.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

Lightly flour a work surface and a rolling pin. Cut the chilled dough into four equal sections; it's okay to leave the other sections on the counter as you work.

Working with one section at a time, roll out to a thickness of 1/16 inch; it's a very stretchable dough. Cut into 20 squares; place 1 to 2 teaspoons of the filling at the center of each one. Arrange so there's a point at the top (like a diamond), then roll to form a small, tapered cigar or crescent shape. You might have scraps of dough left over; they can be re-rolled. Use all the filling.

Dip the top side (opposite the seam side) of each cookie into the egg whites, then into the sugar. Arrange them sugared side up on the baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time for 15 minutes or until just browned on the top and ends. Transfer the kifli to a wire rack to cool completely before serving or storing.

Repeat to use all of the dough and filling.


For apricot filling: Place 1 pound of dried apricots in a large saucepan; barely cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook just until thoroughly softened, then remove from the heat. Add granulated sugar (to taste, in tablespoon increments), stirring and mashing to form a pastelike mixture. Cool completely before using.

For poppy seed filling: Combine 3 cups of ground poppy seeds, 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, 3/4 cup regular or low-fat milk, 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract in a large saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes to form a thickened mixture, which will thicken further as it cools. If it seems too thick, add a little milk.

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Recipe Source

From a family recipe by Erzsebet Preisz, shared by Washington resident Susan K. Coti.

Tested by Sarah Meyer Walsh.

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