Dec 122015

Kifli is another Hungarian Christmas tradition that I remember well, and they were always my favorite of the Christmas cookies.  Growing up, we called them Kiffles, which is the anglicized version of Kifli.

I had never made them until long after my mother was gone, and reclaiming the recipe was not easy as my mother had about 10 different recipes from my aunts and other relatives. She had one labeled “My own special recipe”, that had graham cracker crumbs in at and some other things not in the other recipes, and I’m sure were not in the Kifli that I remember.

After a few years of experimentation with the different recipes and many failures, I finally settled on this one which produces Kifli closest to what I recall, and adjusted the recipe slightly in December 2014.

Kifli – Hungarian Cookies

Prep Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: 96 Kifli

Kifli – Hungarian Cookies


  • 4 to 4 ½ Cups Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Sticks butter
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • Filling
  • 1 lb. Ground Walnuts (Approx 4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1/3 Cup milk
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla


  1. For the dough, melt the butter and mix till dough forms a soft ball.
  2. Divide into 8 balls and refrigerate overnight, or at least a couple of hours.
  3. Let the dough warm up and soften a bit, then, one by one, roll each of the 8 balls into a 9 inch circle.
  4. Spread 1/8 of filling on the rplled out dough, leaving about 1/4" of the edge uncovered..
  5. Using serrated pastry cutter, cut each round into fourths and each of the fourths into thirds, pizza style.
  6. Roll each piece toward the center, crescent roll style and place on ungreased baking sheet.
  7. Brush with egg-white if desired.
  8. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until the Kifli just start to lightly brown. The secret is to not overbake. If the filling is oozing out and turning dark brown or burning, you are baking too long.
  9. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.


Kifli can also be filled with fruit butter or preserves. Apricot would be often used or Lekvar, a Hungarian prune butter.

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Dec 122015

I don’t think my mother knew what a Vegan was and I’m sure making Vegan cookies never crossed her mind, although she was very health conscious in her cooking in her later years. But, times change and I have a number of friends who became Vegan this year, some of whom I have gifted at Christmas with nut roll and Kifli. I always like a challenge, so I decided to see if I could make both of these traditional Hungarian recipes in Vegan form. I made a batch of the cookies in Vegan form and my wife said they were better than what I made last year. So I made two batches of Vegan Kifli and two batches of Vegan nut roll. I had my oldest son taste both without telling him about the change and he though I really outdid myself this year. So, I was happy that the recipe worked and worked well.

I won’t publish the whole Vegan Kifli recipe here, just the Vegan substitutions and a few other notes. Refer to the original recipe for the technique, because it is the same for Vegan as the normal recipe.


Use margarine or vegan butter in place of the butter, same amount.

Use almond milk in place of the milk.

To replace the two eggs, mix two tablespoons of ground Chia and Flax seeds (I used Raw Organics “Real Cold Milled Organic Golden Flax Seed & Organic Chia Seed”) with 6 Tablespoons of hot water and let it sit for about five minutes until thickened.

The sour cream was a little more complicated. Start with a cup of raw cashews (Trader Joes has these at a good price) and cover with boiling water. Let soak for at least 30 minutes and then drain. Put them in a food processor with 1 Tablespoon of cider vinegar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Blend to form a thick paste and then add water, 1 Tablespoon at a time and blend until the desired consistency is reached. You’ll need to add 3 to six Tablespoons.


Everything else is the pretty much the same. Remember to keep the dough on the soft side. If it is too dry, it will be hard to roll. The only difference is that these cookies do not brown like the non-vegan recipe. So bake them for 20 minutes and adjust the baking time for your later batches if necessary. When I was baking multiple trays of cookies, I set the oven to convection cooking.

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