Dec 132015
Helen Kun Karney, Circa 1925

Helen Kun Karney
circa 1925

My paternal Grandmother, Helen Kun Karney, immigrated to the United States at the tender age of 16, in 1901. She married my grandfather, Steven Karney in 1904; they both came from the same town in Hungary, Battyan.  Dios (‘dee-oshe) or Nut Roll is a Hungarian Christmas tradition, and I’ll never know if she carried a hand-written recipe with her on the boat from Europe, or if she created it from memory, but the recipe remains over 100 years later.

Grandma Karney’s recipe was passed on to me through my mother who used it to make the nut roll I remember so well. Although, I’m sure I watched my mother make it (and probably licked the bowl that contained the sugar and walnut filling,) I had never prepared it on my own until recently. I still use the same Wearever #918 aluminum pan that my mother used, and it perfectly holds the four rolls that that this timeless recipe makes.  I recently purchased a second pan on Ebay. They haven’t been made in a long time, but if you can find one on Ebay, it will last for many generations. Nutroll freezes well, so while you are at it, make a couple of batches.

Mom’s Nut Roll (Dios)
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Mom’s Nut Roll (Dios)


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter or margarine
  • 2 pkg. dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 to 5 cups of flour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 lb. ground walnuts
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 scant cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


  1. Make a leaven of 1/4 cup of warm water, 1 tsp. sugar and the yeast. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and mix with the sour cream, sugar, 2 cups of flour and finally the egg yolks.
  3. The mixture should be cool or only slightly warm. Now you can add the yeast mixture and knead in the rest of the flour until the mixture is about the consistency of soft bread dough.
  4. Knead until smooth. If the dough has a layered look and won't hold together, knead in a little water until the dough is smooth and cohesive.
  5. Divide into 4 parts and refrigerate covered overnight.
  6. Mix together walnuts, egg whites, sugar and vanilla to make filling.
  7. Roll out each piece of dough into a rectangle the length of your pan.
  8. Spread with 1/4 of the walnut filling.
  9. Roll up jelly roll style.
  10. Butter the baking pan lightly.
  11. Put the 4 rolls in a baking pan and let rise in a warm place, covered, for 2 hours.
  12. Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes.
  13. Cool and slice.


If you have trouble rolling out the dough or if it tears, your dough is too dry.It's better to err on the side of too soft, rather than too dry.

I use Ceresota all-purpose flour in my recipe. Other flours may have more or less moisture, so adjust the amount for a soft, but not sticky dough.

I usually cut the rolls in half crosswise, wrap them in foil and refrigerate until needed. Then I slice the larger piece into 1/2 in slices for serving. It dries out less than if you pre-slice the whole thing.

For freezing, wrap in foil and then seal in air-tight freezer bag.

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