#34: On Hungarian Christmas Cookies

#34: On Hungarian Christmas Cookies

So we had decided to share favorite Christmas recipes in December and share a story associated with them. I immediately knew which recipe I wanted to share, but I don’t really have a story that goes with them, other than that we have made them every Christmas for as far back as I can remember, and it wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

I am going to share with you my Hungarian grandmother’s recipe for kish kiffles. These are Hungarian cookies, and I have been told the name means “little crescent”. Now, in as much as I don’t speak Hungarian, I cannot verify this fact. I did, however, see a similarly shaped cookie in Budapest and they were also called kish kiffles, so I feel somewhat confident in sharing this translation. I think they are also similar to what the other Eastern European countries call rugelach and I’ve seen similar recipes that call them butterhorns. There is also another cookie simply called kiffles, which is one of my father’s favorites of my grandmother’s; however, that recipe is a little labor intensive. And, while mom and I have made those successfully in the past, last year we tried them and they were a complete disaster. I will not be able to share THAT story with the same flair as Renee could, so I won’t try, but suffice it to say – if a recipe involves yeast, letting the dough rise LONGER than directed is NOT RECOMMENDED. We are going to try a non-yeast version this year, if that turns out, then I may share that recipe with you next year.

Anyway – here is the recipe for kish kiffles. We have been making kish kiffles, without incident, forever, so you should be good to go. As a plus, they can also be considered a breakfast pastry – so if you want a cookie that can be both snack and, justifiably, breakfast, here is a recipe for you. And yes, you are reading this after Christmas, so if you need an excuse – make them for your New Year’s Day breakfast.

Note – Yes, you read that correctly – the recipe does call for cottage cheese – you won’t be able to tell once they are baked – I promise!!!

8oz cottage cheese
1 C butter
2 C flour
¼ C sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1 C chopped walnuts
melted butter
powdered sugar

Mix first three ingredients together. Then roll into 3 equal-sized balls and chill. Mix together the cinnamon, sugar and nuts. Roll first ball into a circle (dough will be fairly thin). Spread with melted butter, and then sprinkle nut mixture on top. Using pastry cutter/wheel cut circle into triangles. Roll each triangle into a crescent shape – starting at fat end and ending with short end.

Place on cookie sheets and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Place on cooling rack and dust with powdered sugar while cookies are still warm. Enjoy. (Repeat with other two balls.)

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