Hungarian Nut-Filled Cookies
I wish I knew the true heritage of this cookie because it’s one of my favorites. My mother and aunts have been making this hearty and gratifying cookie as far back as I can remember. I’d like to think that this delicious cookie is of Italian origin; however, rumor has it that the recipe hails from my cousin’s mother-in-law who was Eastern European. Whether Italian or Hungarian, this is an awesome cookie for any occasion and one that you should try.
Makes approximately 7 dozen cookies
For the Filling:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 cups walnuts (finely ground)
- 2 large egg whites (or enough to make a good spreading consistency)
For the Dough:
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
For the Browned-Butter Icing:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 evaporated milk (or whole milk)
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: For the Dough: Place all dry ingredients in large bowl and whisk until well-blended.
Step 3: Add butter and shortening to dry ingredients. Cut in shortening and butter (with a pastry blender) until size of small peas.
Step 4: In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk and eggs. Beat until combined.
Step 5: Make a well in the flour mixture, then add egg-buttermilk mixture. Using pastry blending, mix until dough forms into a soft ball. Dough should be soft but not too sticky. If dough is sticky, liberally add flour to your work surface when rolling dough out.
Step 6: Divide dough into 6 equal pieces (approximately 9.5 ounces each).
Step 7: For the Filling: Combine sugar, finely ground walnuts and 2 egg whites in a bowl. Mix well and set aside.
Step 8: Roll dough into a 4" X 14" rectangle. Arrange approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cup of filling in a 3-inch-wide log lengthwise down the center of each strip leaving approximately 1/2 inch free around the edges. Roll up dough as you would a jellyroll. Turn the rolls seam-sides down and press gently to flatten the seams.
Step 9: Chill the logs, covered with plastic wrap, for about 1/2 hour before slicing and baking.
Step 10: Slice into 1/2 inch slices. Bake on cookie sheet 350°F oven until light golden brown.
Step 11: For the browned-butter icing: Heat two tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until golden brown. Add 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar and 1/4 cup evaporated milk (or whole milk) and beat until smooth.
Step 12: Ice cookies once they are cool.