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Author Notes: My Bubby used to make these cookies for every holiday, family event or gathering. They're like a hybrid bun/cookie: made with a yeasted dough that rises overnight and then rolled out like cinnamon buns, they're filled with a heady mixture of cocoa, cinnamon, sweet meringue and walnuts. The filled dough is then rolled into a log and sliced into cookie-like swirls, and they bake up sweet, puffy, crunchy, and almost marshmallow-y. The combination of the bitter cocoa and smooth, sugary meringue is out of this world. I've yet to find a better holiday cookie and my whole family agrees- these are a classic! —retrochaya
Makes approximately 60 cookies
For the dough:
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 eggs, whites separated and reserved for meringue
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 3 cups all purpose flour
For the filling:
- 3 egg whites, reserved from above
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- Combine the milk, yeast, and one tablespoon sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit, covered, until the yeast is proofed and bubbly, ten minutes.
- Add the rest of the sugar, salt and egg yolks to the bowl. Mix well to combine.
- Add the melted butter and flour to the bowl and again, mix well to combine. Refrigerate the dough overnight.
- The next day, let the dough come to room temperature. Meanwhile, whip the reserved egg whites and the cup of sugar together until stiff, marshmallow-y peaks form.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Divide the dough into four sections. On a floured surface, roll each section into a long rectangle (the exact length doesn’t matter, so long as the dough is rolled thinly, to its capacity.)
- Spread each rectangle thickly with meringue, leaving a 1″ border around the sides. Mix the cocoa and cinnamon to combine and divide into four, sprinkling it onto each rectangle, on top of the meringue.
- Top each portion of dough with 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts. Then, roll the dough up, starting with the side nearest you, to the side across from you.
- You will now have four long, thin logs. Slice each log into 1/2″ sections.
- Place the cookies on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Bake each sheet for approximately 25 minutes, or until the cookies are browned. Let cool and enjoy!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Holiday Cookie from Anywhere in the World