Hungarian Nut Rolls – Sweet, Nut Filled Pastries – A Family Holiday Treat
These sweet little nut filled pastries are another recipe that my mom used to make for the holidays. My uncle Joe called them Hungarian nut rolls. They are made with a yeast dough, but the method is a little different than other dough I've worked with in the past. The keys to success are keeping everything cold (the dough gets sticky when it gets warm) and working gently with the dough. Blend only until mixed, bake only until lightly browned.
These Hungarian nut rolls can be made ahead and frozen in layers stacked between waxed paper. They store quite well – easily a month or more in the freezer and a week or two chilled or on the counter in a sealed container. Mom always made them ahead so she didn't have quite so much to do on the day of or the day before the event.
Hungarian Nut Rolls Recipe
1 tablespoon active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons SAF-INSTANT yeast
4 cups white all-purpose flour
1 pound butter (no substitutions)
1 cup full fat sour cream
1/2 lb walnuts, chopped fine
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
powder sugar, for dusting
In a large bowl, mix flour and yeast, cut in butter with pastry blender.
Whisk together three eggs and sour cream, then add to dry mixture. Mix gently until dough just holds together. Do not overmix, or your dough will get tough.
Form dough into large roll.
Divide dough evenly into 8 disks. I like to hack the dough apart with my cutter/scraper. (It's great for cleaning off the counter after you're done rolling, too.)
Place each disk between wax paper. Refrigerate overnight.
For filling, mix walnuts, egg whites and sugar. Set aside.
Roll disk between wax paper with powdered sugar to about 12″- thinner than pie crust. (Sorry I missed photos of this!) Dusting your wax paper with flour will help keep the dough from sticking, as will keeping everything as cool as possible.
Cut into 8 wedges/triangles. Put about a teaspoon of filling on the wide end and roll up like crescent rolls. Curl them fairly tight, as they like to straighten during cooking. Place the nut rolls on well greased pan or pan lined with parchment or reusable parchment. I prefer using air bake pans for these so they don't too brown.
Bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, until just lightly browned. (On the airbake pans it takes around 15-16 minutes.) Dust with powdered sugar while still warm. (I like to use my Pampered Chef Sugar Shaker.) Move to wire rack to cool. Makes about 4 dozen.
As you can see from the cross section, these little treats bake up light and flaky with a tasty nut filling.
Hungarian nut rolls are a delicate, flaky pastry with a lightly sweetened nut filling. A favorite holiday tradition in our family, they can be made ahead and frozen.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 64 rolls 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Hungarian
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons SAF-INSTANT yeast
- 4 cups white all-purpose flour
- 1 pound butter (no substitutions)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup full fat sour cream
- 1/2 lb walnuts, chopped fine
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- powder sugar
- In a large bowl, mix flour and yeast, cut in butter with pastry blender.
- Whisk together three eggs and sour cream, then add to dry mixture. Mix gently until dough just holds together. Do not overmix, or your dough will get tough.
- Form dough into large roll, divide dough evenly into 8 disks.
- Place each disk between wax paper. Refrigerate overnight.
- For filling, mix walnuts, egg whites and sugar. Set aside.
- Roll disk between wax paper with powdered sugar to about 12″- thinner than pie crust.
- Dusting your wax paper with flour will help keep the dough from sticking, as will keeping everything as cool as possible.
- Cut into 8 wedges/triangles. Put about a teaspoon of filling on the wide end and roll up like crescent rolls. Curl them fairly tight, as they like to straighten during cooking. Place on well greased pan or pan lined with parchment or reusable parchment.
- Bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, until just lightly browned. (On the airbake pans it takes around 15-16 minutes.)
- Dust with powdered sugar while still warm.
- Move to wire rack to cool. Makes about 4 dozen.
- Serving Size: 1 roll
Keywords: Hungarian nut rolls, nuts, baked goods
With a cup of coffee or tea these Hungarian nut rolls are really quite sinfully delicious. Once in a while mom made these with poppyseed filling, too, but I suspect that might have been because she misjudged the amount of nut mixture per roll and ran a little short. Whatever the reason, those were tasty, too. I'm sure you could substitute honey for the sugar, too, to give these more of a baklava flavor. Just remember than honey is sweeter than sugar, so you should reduce the amount by half.
Baking is Better with Family and Friends
Thanks to my friend, Emma, for helping me get this recipe back (I had lost my copy). My niece, Kira, helped roll out most of these Saturday night while I did the dishes, so a big thanks to her, too. 🙂 We had a nice visit (her brother helped make kolache earlier in the day). Here's my niece with her baby girl, Brit.
Do you do any special holiday baking? I'd love to hear about your family traditions here or on the Facebook page. If you think this recipe looks tasty, please pass it along. 🙂
Get More Holiday Recipes
Do you enjoy recipes like these Hungarian nut rolls? Our Recipes and Kitchen Tips page lists over 100 recipes, ranging from traditional family favorites to new fun ideas and allergy friendly treats, including:
- Edible Shot Glasses or Mini Serving Cups – Fun and Easy to Make
- Gram Irene's Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
- Grandma Catherine's Polish Doughnuts
- Chocolate Chestnut Brownies – gluten free, grain free, dairy free, no refined sugar
- Homemade Mounds or Almond Joy Bars with Coconut Oil – gluten free, dairy free, no refined sugar
Originally posted in 2011, updated in 2018.
mmmmmmmm… sinfully delicious, i bet…. i most likely would o.d. on those!
Yeah, once of twice a year for these is probably safer for me, too, with a big crowd on hand so they are shared among many. 😉
oh my gosh! These are a tradition in my hubby's family.. they call them Kipfels. I have made them every one of the 10 years we've been married and still can't make them as yummy as my MIL does!
Lanette – maybe in another ten years? It's interesting to hear the different family stories. 🙂
Looks delicious- I wish I could digest nuts. I'm sure you could use a different filling. If I get some time I'll try.
My mom also used apricot filling at times, if those are better for your stomach. The sweet-tart taste was a nice contrast to the sweet pastry.
🙂 my family calls them Cold Doughs 🙂 we make them for Christmas every year, long time family tradition from my Hungarian grandma. We do the nut and apricot filling.
ANY CHANCE THESE WOULD WORK GLUTEN FREE? MANY OF US ARE GLUTEN FREE.
I haven’t tried them with a gluten free flour blend. I suspect the texture would be less than ideal but the product would be edible.
My Hungarian grandmother makes these and calls them “kifli.”
She makes them with nuts like you do, but for the real central European experience she also makes them with black plum jam (“povidol”).
The sour cream in the pastry makes them so decadent.
I will give your recipe a try.
Thanks for sharing part of your family’s story, Naomi. It sounds like the “black plum jam” may haven been made from prunes? Mom used a prune filling for her kolache, and I know dried fruits are quite popular for kolache fillings, so maybe they were used for kifli fillings, too?
Sure looked like my mother’s, but besides not ending up looking as good, it seemed the sour cream was overwhelming. I wonder if it ought have been cream cheese instead?
No, it’s sour cream, not cream cheese. Unfortunately, there’s now a wide variation in the quality of sour cream, so it’s possible that may have been the issue. I normally use Organic Valley, or Deans if they are out of Organic Valley, but avoid Daisy because it doesn’t work well in recipes and upsets my youngest’s stomach. Those are the three brands we have most readily available locally.
Everything should be kept chilled, too.
Different flours will also impact the final product, too. I’m a fan of King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill.
These are absolutely wonderful! I made half with nuts and half with raspberry filling. So light and delectable! This recipe will be a permanent addition to my holiday baking. Thank you so much for sharing this!
I’m glad you enjoyed it. Raspberry filling sounds lovely!
I made a batch on Saturday, told the other two in the houshold they were for Sunday but they were still gone by Sunday night. Good thing I only make them for Christmas and Easter or else we would be big as a house.
I don’t know how Dan stays so thin with the that sweet tooth of his – probably because he never sits still, unlike us desk jockeys.
Why the sour cream ??
I’ve never thought about it much, because this is how the recipe was passed down to me, but in general, sour cream adds acidity and fat. This promotes more even baking and browning, and adds richness to the dough. The sourness of the sour cream is also a nice complement to the sweetness of the filling.
You don’t activate the yeast with warm milk or water?
This is the way the recipe was passed down to me, so I never have. I do normally use an “instant” type of yeast, as that’s what I keep on hand.
This looks delicious and easy enough for even me to make! I’m confused with step 6 and 7, one says use powdered sugar and the other says flour?
Sorry for the confusion. I use a little bit of both.
My mom called these Kifli. I forgot about them. Now that I am reminded I am making them for Thanksgiving in honor of my departed parents form Hungary.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Holidays aren’t the same without missing loved ones, but family traditions help keep them close in our hearts.