Gram's Kifli

By • December 2, 2010 • 43 Comments



Author Notes: Well into her eighties, my unflappably determined Hungarian grandmother traveled six hours by car with a huge surprise platter of these cookies for our wedding, much to everyone's amazement and delight. This was our most memorable wedding present of all. Gram firmly believed that we could have no special occasion without these especially beloved cookies. Since no one else in the family knew how to make these or even what to call them then, after she passed away, I just had to figure out her recipe. I had watched her make these several times when I was a girl. When I presented my first platter to my uncle, he gave the thumbs up. Although you can use different fillings such as chestnut, poppy, fig or prune, I think making half the batch with walnut/raisin/cranberry and the other half in apricot/ginger is best. By using more spice with zest, white whole wheat flour, and fage, this recipe has some additional updated nutritional value. Making this recipe for our special occasions helps me keep a family tradition alive.Sagegreen

Makes 4 dozen

Two fiillings: walnuts with dried fruits and apricot with ginger

  • 1/4 cup finely ground walnuts (amount after grinding)
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped dried premium cranberries
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped yellow raisins
  • 2 teaspoons wildflower honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground or milled
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • and
  • 4 ounces thick apricot jam (homemade preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled gingerroot
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, Meyer preferred

The dough

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (King Arthur preferred)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour (King Arthur preferred)
  • 14 ounces premium unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, Meyer preferred
  • 4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 9 ounces sour cream or fage
  • 6 ounces confectionery sugar
  • dash of sea salt
  • 2 egg whites, slightly beaten for wash
  • @ 4 ounces confectionery sugar, to sift over cooled cookies
  1. Combine the ingredients for each of the two fillings, and store each one in a bowl to use later. We used a meat grinder, fastened onto the kitchen table to combine the walnuts and dried fruits together.
  2. Sift together the flours. Traditionally, we used only apf, but white whole wheat is a delicious addition. If necessary, you could try a gluten-free apf (Arrowhead Mills). Using a pastry cutter blend the butter and lemon zest to the flour.
  3. Mix in the beaten egg yolks. After these are incorporated, mix in the sour cream or fage and 6 oz. of sugar. Divide the dough into 4 balls and refrigerate until chilled (at least half an hour).
  4. In between parchment paper roll out the dough, one ball at a time, to a wide strip, roughly in modules of @ 2 inches. Strive for a 1/8 inch thickness, or even a bit less. Keep the rest on the dough refrigerated until you are ready to work with the next batch. Cut out 2 inch squares from the rolled dough. You should get about a dozen from each ball. If you have scraps, you can re-roll them. Refrigerate if the dough gets too sticky, with the butter melting at room temperature.
  5. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each square. Taking the opposite corners overlap them and then give them a firm pinch. Brush evenly with egg whites. Continue with the rest of the dough in the same way. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 12-14 minutes until perfectly golden brown. Let cool.
  6. Sift confectionery sugar on top of the cookies and transfer to a platter. A child will feel love, while a grandmother honor.
Jump to Comments (43)

Comments (43) Questions (0)

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Lorigoldsby

over 3 years ago lorigoldsby

Good luck with your "recollecting" of cookbooks...this is a lovely story (which would be so much better with one of your Gram's cookies)! Guess I'll have to get in the kitchen this Sunday morning and make a batch with the kid before she leaves to go back to college...and then reread all of the beautiful postings from this week's contest theme while I try not to think about how much I miss her!

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks, lori. Let me know how you like them if you do make these. They travel off to college well, too, btw!

Steve_dunn02

over 3 years ago Oui, Chef

Not sure I could decide between your two variations of cookie, I'll HAVE to make them both. - S

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks, Steve. Let me know what you think if you make them. I am partial to making both kinds myself.

Hib_kitchen

over 3 years ago MyCommunalTable

Love these cookies. Great story. Great Pic.

Gator_cake

over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

? What a lovely tribute to your grandma! She sounds like an amazing woman - probably where you get it from!

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks, hla!

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

What a sweet tribute to your grandmother. And I love your wedding picture! Lovely recipe.

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks, drbabs!

Lobster_001

over 3 years ago nannydeb

I must have missed this the first time around. Wonderful story and they look delicious!

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks, nannydeb.This one is such fun to see the posts.

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over 3 years ago TiggyBee

These are wonderful Sagegreen and what a lovely story as well!

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks, TiggyBee!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

What a lovely story! And beautiful pictures! And the kifli sounds buttery-delicious!

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks, mrslarkin. I am the only one currently in the family to make these...but now that we have a recipe written down, we can be sure to pass it on down. You just know somebody loves you when you eat these!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

I'm not sure how I missed these the first time you shared them. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story (Grandmother food love is a precious gift!) and lovely recipe. I love your wedding photo, too.

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks, gingerroot. I was torn between selecting something more of my own creation in a very healthy direction and the family tradition. This won out, because it hits the core of what really motivated me to cook in the first place.

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks for sharing! And, love the photos!

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thank you, fiveandspice, for appreciating this!

Newliztoqueicon-2

over 3 years ago Lizthechef

My Hungarian grandmother taught her daughter-in-law, my mother, to make these. My Mom's were just as good, a Pennsylvania Dutch version known as "kiffles". Thanks for the lovely family story, my favorite.

Newliztoqueicon-2

over 3 years ago Lizthechef

Whoops - I see I made the same comment 4 months ago! At least I'm consistent ;)

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks, Liz! With only one recipe to select, this is the one that has the most traditional significance for me because it made me want to cook!

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

Love the story, the photo AND the recipe!

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks, wssmom. This is the recipe I had to work the hardest to figure out how to make. It really does give me an identity of being the cook in the family today!

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

These look so beautiful!

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks, Bevi. These taste so wonderful. I could never make them without butter!

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over 3 years ago Kage

Yep, Sagegreen. My Mother's recipe also has yeast in the dough. She used the same dough for a nut roll, with a "spit" of lemon juice added to prevent splitting.

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks, Kage. I just found your comment today. I have never had splitting problems, but decided to add some lemon zest into the flour to brighten the taste.

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

My grandmother also did a version with yeast in the dough, too!

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over 3 years ago Kage

This recipe is close to what my Mother used to make, but with a difference. My Mother got her recipe from her sister-in-law after she remarried. My Stepfather was Hungarian, and we all fell in love with these pastries. However, the way Mom learned to make them was to cut the dought into long triangles and roll the dough with the filling placed on the widest part of the triangle. Kind of like crecent rols, only smaller. And she used granulated sugar instead of powdered. They are time consuming and arduous to make, but worth every minute. My Dad ate them like popcorn!

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks for sharing, Kage. My grandmother also made some kinds like crescents, but with a yeast-based dough. We loved them all!

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over 3 years ago Rivka

As soon as you posted this recipe, I knew I'd seen something like it before: I first had kifli at the Hungarian Pastry Shop on the Upper West Side, and then in Budapest when I was traveling there. I was hooked -- they're delicious. Can't wait to try your recipe!

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks, Rivka. These cookies are my most favorite in the whole world, but of course, I am biased! I can't wait to try your spiced cocoa crisps!

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I've never had these, but this recipe and the picture looks great! I've added tme to my list of things I MUST make!

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks, ChezSuzanne! Fair warning: They are hard to resist once they have been baked! I am going to make your celery root crabcakes, gorgeous. Hope you like my latke recipe!

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over 3 years ago adamnsvetcooking

I love KIFLI!!! My grandma makes the best ones!

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks, adamsvetcooking. Kifli is really special. Your cranberry cake looks great, too, btw. I want to make it over the holidays.

Birthday_2012

over 3 years ago luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

this is an enchanting recipe, haven't made kiflis in years, will try these

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks, luvcookbooks. Let me know what you think. There was also another version gram made with a sweet yeast dough. I seem to remember finding a recipe in a foods of the world cookbook. During a move two years ago I foolishly got rid of all my cookbooks. Now I am recollecting.

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

These would be great for brunch!

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks! Yes, a late brunch, or else for an afternoon open house tea. I have to freeze some or I will eat too many myself.

Newliztoqueicon-2

over 3 years ago Lizthechef

Wow, your recipe is almost identical to the "kiffles" my mother used to make, a PA Dutch recipe with Hungarian influence - love that apricot jam...I haven't made them in years - may try again.

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Thanks. Gram always used to make her own apricot jam from scratch, of course. I made these for my uncle before he passed away, and he reassured me that these were just like gram's! The cranberry worked really well with the walnuts.