The kiefle (pronounced "key-flee) is the Christmas cookie of choice for anyone hailing from South Bend, IN. It's a delightfully flaky, crescent-shaped pastry cookie with walnut filling. I've been told it's a Polish cookie. The Internet tells me it's Hungarian. Yet this particular cookie and filling only seems to have ever appeared in The South Bend Tribune sometime in the year 1940.
Growing up, both my grandmothers and mother each made triple batches which was an all day, sun up to sun down affair. My brother and I knew not to bother mom on "kiefle day" and we'd get to order a pizza for dinner, a very rare event, because she wouldn't have time to make a supper.
My dad is notorious for stashing the cookies away in his hidden cabinet spot and then trying to sell them to fellow family members once the kieflies have all been consumed for the year.
They're great cookies all on their own, the sentiment is a bonus. I've changed the flours to make it a gluten free cookie so that I can keep the tradition going with my own family. The rest of the recipe remains the same as was handed down to me and what I will hand down to my daughter when she is grown.
—Rachel from Recreating Happiness
- Makes 48
- Cookie dough
finely ground almond flour
rice flour (plus more for rolling out)
large egg yolks (reserve whites for filling)
large egg whites
powdered sugar plus more for dusting
- The day before, in a large bowl, combine almond flour, tapioca flour, white rice flour, and xanthan gum. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives criss-crossed work the butter in until it's the size of peas. (if you're lucky enough to have a food processor it'd probably be a lot easier/faster here). In small bowl whisk together egg yolks and sour cream until smooth. Pour into flour/butter mixture and mix until smooth. Pinch off dough and roll into balls about the size of a golf ball. Cover and refrigerate dough for 24 hours.
- Prepare filling (day of or day before, either is ok, just be sure to refrigerate it when not in use): Whip egg whites to soft peaks. Coarsely grind walnuts in food processor or blender. Fold walnuts and powdered sugar into the egg whites.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- On rice floured wax paper roll out dough balls into a 1/4-inch thick circle. Add 1-2 teaspoons filling off-center, then roll jelly roll style. Pinch the ends closed and curve cookie into a crescent shape. TIP: I use my tortilla press instead of a rolling pin to roll them out. Always keep the dough cold! It's very easy to work with when chilled but once it starts to warm up it gets sticky. I take out only 5-6 dough balls at a time while keeping the others in the fridge until I'm ready for them.
- Bake 18-22 minutes until light golden brown. Remove immediately to a wire rack. Cool completely then dust with powdered sugar.