Okay, maybe not the "sweet love" part. After all, this is not meant to be an homage to 9 1/2 Weeks.
Last year, I wrote about the Story of the Kifli, which included a bit of my baking history and my hopes for my friend Jolene as she fought pancreatic cancer. That post is still hard for me to read because a year later? My friend is gone.
Also, inexplicably, I now bake -- even when it is not Christmas. It started off with cookie dough from Papa Murphy's. Then, I tried out some Amish Friendship bread. Even the over-ripe bananas on the counter are getting nervous, folks.
These past few weeks, I've had the pastry mat out more times than I can count for baking gingerbread cookies (again, via a tub of dough, Although, I have grand plans for next year and have been researching gingerbread recipes. Yes, ME. The Non-baker.) Anyway with practice, I've gotten to know my oven better and have learned that one of the tricks with baking is that the item continues to bake a bit AFTER being pulled from the oven. I have definitely gotten better at gauging that precise moment when things should be pulled.
The original recipe that I've linked to in the past never quite worked. For one, the measurements were WAY off and I was left with a ridiculous amount of the nut filling. This year, I took careful notes so that from now on, I will not have to dig into my addled memory to figure out what I should be doing. After all, I'm not getting younger.
Romanian/Hungarian Kifli Recipe
Ingredients for 1 Batch of Kifli Dough
(I make 4 batches of dough for 1 batch of filling)
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup butter
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
(Note: I make each of the 4 batches of dough separately with a hand mixer using dough hooks. If you have a fancy mixer, you may be able to make all 4 batches at the same time. This dough is super sticky and at the end, is VERY hard to mix. Trust me, you want dough hooks and NOT beaters for this bad boy.)
Ingredients for 1 Batch of Kifli Filling
3 egg whites
2 cups ground pecans
1 cup white sugar
(Note: Walnuts and almonds can be substituted for the pecans)
2-3 cups confectioners' sugar for rolling and decoration
Preparation for the Dough
- In a tall-ish mixing bowl with high sides, cream the butter and cream cheese. Stir in the egg yolks, vanilla, baking powder and salt.
- Gradually add in flour mixture a little bit at a time until everything is mixed well.
- Divide dough into 5 parts, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate overnight (Keep in mind that you will have 20 of these dough thingies, since you are making 4 batches of the dough.)
Preparation for the Nut Filling
- Beat egg whites to soft peaks and add sugar a little at a time. Continue to beat the eggs into stiff peaks.
- Fold in the ground pecans, and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake the cookies for 9 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Roll in confectioners' sugar when cool. This recipe makes approximately 300 cookies.
And now, for the pictures!
The kifli production line. I only get out each section of dough one at a time. As they warm up to room temperature, they get even stickier
I roll out a bunch of 1 inch balls at once and line them up. Then, using a pastry roller, I roll each ball into 2x3 inch ovals to about a 1/4 to 1/8 inch thickness. Instead of flour, I use powdered sugar for rolling to keep the stickiness under control.
I add a 1/2 teaspoon of filling, then I fold it over and pinch the sides. Then I continue rolling it over, then I pinch the ends.
Little soldiers, all lined up to march into the oven.
The finished product, all dolled up in confectioner's sugar. Ready for a hot date with my mouth.
Wait a second, that sounded dirtier than intended.