This easy sugar cookie recipe is reminiscent of my family’s traditional hungarian kifli cookies… Sweet, buttery and filled with nutty goodness. If you’ve never tried making kiflis, this is a great place to start!
We all have certain foods that stir up strong memories and strengthen family ties. For me, Hungarian Kifli Cookies are one of those foods. The holidays wouldn’t feel right without these nut-filled little bundles!
When Lt. Dan and I first met, one thing that I found so endearing about him was how much he loved his family.
He would tell stories about family Thanksgivings with enough food to feed an army, Christmases at his Aunt Pammy’s house with more cousins than I could count, and the New Year’s Eve parties his parents would throw with all the neighbors from their block.
He would also tell me stories about his Great Grandma Rosie and Great Grandpa Joe, hungarian immigrants who came to America looking for a brighter future. The twinkle in his eyes when he described his great-grandparents was all it took for me to know this was a person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
Although I never had the opportunity to meet Grandpa Joe, I visited Grandma Rosie nearly every year up until she passed away at the ripe old age of 96.
She had lived a full life working as a jet-setting executive secretary to the Studebaker family, as a swing dancer, a diehard Notre Dame fan, and an exceptional cook. She passed along many traditional hungarian recipes to “Mo” Dan’s grandma, his mother and aunt, his sister, and then to me.
Along with Chicken Paprikas and Hungarian Goulash, one of the most beloved family recipes she shared was Kifli Cookies.
These little rolled bundles of sweet buttery dough hold a rich nutty filling that screams holiday spirit. There’s only one problem with kifli cookies… they are not the easiest cookies to make, nor the quickest.
And with our fast-pace lifestyles and holiday events night after night, some years its hard to find the time to make them.
So this year I cheated…
I used pre-made Pillsbury Ready To Bake Sugar Cookies to make a quickie version of Kiflis, without all the fuss, and they were pretty spectacular!
I mixed cream cheese into the nut mixture to act as a binder and replicate the tangy quality of traditional Kifli dough. Then dolloped the nut mixture on top of Pillsbury cookie dough. As the cookies baked, the walnut filling moved to one side. This made it easy to fold the cookies in half as soon as they came out of the oven, forming cute little packages.
A dusting of powdered sugar was all it took to make these “Quickie Kiflis” a great substitute for their slightly-more-daunting counterpart.
If you need your holiday Kifli fix, but are short on time, this easy sugar cookie recipe is a wonderful solution. They will be a stand-out at your holiday cookie exchange, but are also a great little treat for Thanksgiving!
Along with your pumpkin pie, why not offer Quickie Kiflis as a dessert option?
I prefer them to pecan pie, any day.
Quickie Kifli Cookies
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:10 minutes
- 16 oz. package Pillsbury Ready to Bake Sugar Cookies
- 2 1/2 oz. cream cheese
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts (or pecans)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar + extra for dusting
- 1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30-60 seconds to soften. Then mix the walnuts, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla with the melted cream cheese.
- Place the Pillsbury Sugar Cookie dough disks on the cookie sheets 2 1/2 inches apart and top each disk with a dollop of walnut filling approximately the same size as the dough.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes, until the edges are just slightly golden, but the centers look a bit under-baked. The walnut filling will shift to one side while baking. Remove from the oven and immediately (while the cookies are still hot) use a spatula to fold the cookies in half over the walnut filling.
- Allow the cookies to cool for 5-10 minutes, then dust liberally with powdered sugar. Store in an air-tight container until ready to enjoy!
Making this recipe? Why not take a quick shot and share it on Instagram! Make sure to tag it #ASpicyPerspective so we can see what you're cooking!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Pillsbury. All opinions are always my own.