Cookie Crazy

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The tree behind our house. Next year, I’m going to decorate it!

Last weekend was the perfect cookie-making time. I had the whole weekend to myself and nothing else to do. AND it was snowing, which – as we all know – is beautiful as long as you don’t have to walk to work in it. So, yea baking day!

I was SUPER productive and make a six different types of cookies, but here I want to talk mainly about kifli. Kifli is a sour cream dough stuffed with a walnut mixture and EVERY year I lose the recipe and call my mom to get it. Kifli is the only recipe that I’ve never found online. There are a lot of variations, and I can usually find something to use, but it’s never quite right.

I love kifli because there is no sugar in the dough. The cookie has a ton of sugar (in the filling and the mounts of powdered sugar you cover it in), but the dough is very simple.

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He’s a rectangle. I’ve named him George.

Kifli is a huge pain to make, and it makes 16 dozen! About half way through I usually get pretty frustrated and either stop making them into cute little triangles, or start making them absolutely huge. Can you spot the one that doesn’t belong? Anyway, I recommend you only make half the recipe.

Also, kifli is pretty bad for you (take a look at what’s in the dough!), but it’s delicious and are there any cookies that are good for you? No, I will not validate kifli. It validates itself.

So, full confession, I made the kifli with salted butter. I don’t want to hear it. I am totally an unsalted butter convert (stop rolling your eyes, mom!), but we only had salted left over. My mom has used salted butter to make kifli as long as I can remember, so … everyone is used to it. Actually, the recipe mom sent calls for margarine, but I don’t believe that is what it originally said. I think she wrote margarine because she’s gets annoyed when I’m on my unsalted butter high horse.

Now, to make the cookie!

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Three tiers of cookies. Totally worth the effort.

Kifli
Preheat oven to 400º and grease cookie sheets. This recipe will make about 16 dozen.

Dough:
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups butter
4 egg yolks
1 cup sour cream

Filling:
1 & 1/4 walnuts, ground
I cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp almond extract

For later:
1 egg, beaten
Confectioners’ sugar

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Don’t just leave it like this. It’ll gross people out.

Directions

For dough: place flour into a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter* to cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg yolks and sour cream, stir until combined. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead dough until it is smooth and can be shaped into a ball. Add more flour if necessary. Dough can be refrigerated until you are ready to use it.

For filling: combine nuts, sugar, milk and almond extract; blend well.

To shape kifli: on a lightly floured surface roll out one quarter of the dough until it measures about 12 x 16 inches and is about 1/8 an inch thick. With a pastry wheel**, cut into 2 inch squares

Place a generous 1/2 tsp of filling into the center of the square, then bring together opposite corners of the dough together until they overlap over the filling. Pinch edges together to seal (I use a fork). Place on cookie sheets. Brush lightly with beaten egg.

Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden. Remove and roll in confectioners’ sugar. Let cool on a wire rack.

*If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can use two butter knives like scissors, but it takes forever. Just go buy a pastry cutter. You’ll use it more than you realized. Or, maybe I’m just surprised how much I use it.

**I don’t have a pastry wheel. You can use the back of a butter knife. Butter knives are useful suckers.

Other cookies that got made last weekend, day 1 : spritzer cookies (not spritzed, as you can see), chocolate sables and lemon cookies.

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Oh no! A Spritzer Swirl casualty! Eh, he fought the good fight.

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An old New York Times recipe from my aunt.

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Lemon cookies I made as an excuse to use up some old Lemon Heads.

 

 

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What Jack does while I bake.

I dumped my scarves, hats and gloves on the bed when I had to go outside to throw out garbage. Jack likes to find the one place he shouldn’t be, and claim it. Kudos, Jack. Own those scarves.

Also, for fun, my kitchen gets messier and messier the longer I’m in it. No cooking actually gets done on this table.  SONY DSC

Baking Music: Amy Grant A Christmas Album

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