A Squared: Just For Fun: Hungarian Kiffles

Friday, December 14, 2012

Just For Fun: Hungarian Kiffles

My office recently held its annual Christmas cookie exchange, which I love!  I really enjoy baking, but I don't do it often since it's just Alex and me.  If I baked 4 dozen Christmas cookies and had them sitting in my kitchen I would finish them off pretty quickly... so it is nice to have an excuse to give them away.

Inevitably, a few people always bring duplicate cookies-- and this year it looks like a lot of my coworkers took a page out of my book and found recipes on Pinterest.  We had lots of yummy cake ball truffles, Andes mint cookies, and peppermint chocolate chip cookies.  Last year I brought some delicious cream cheese spritz cookies inspired by my fellow food blogger friend Kit and this year I have been on the lookout for something a little different as well.  When I happened upon a recipe for Hungarian kiffles I was sold.  I'm part Hungarian so this recipe is a fun nod to my roots.  I'm also a little partial to Hungarian food after visiting Budapest in college.  They make some seriously delicious desserts in eastern Europe!  Kiffles are really tasty and not your typical Christmas cookie-- a great compliment to the rest of the cookies in your holiday treat tins.  They're almost like little fruit pies-- not too sweet since they are made with a sugarless pastry dough. 

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tesp. salt
  • 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup additional flour (to prevent sticking during rolling)
  • 2 12 oz. cans of pastry filling *Every recipe that I have read encouraged the use of canned pastry/dessert filling.  This is NOT pie filling or regular jam/preserves (which will run and burn). Most cooks also recommended Solo brand, which was what I used as well.  I used 3 flavors: poppyseed (one of the most traditional Hungarian fillings), apricot, and raspberry (my favorite of the 3).
  • Confectioner's sugar, for serving
Mix the 2 1/4 cups flour and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together at medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until very smooth and creamy.  Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is well blended. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture a little bit at a time, mixing until just combined. The dough will be very moist, but not sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured pastry mat or on to a sheet of lightly floured wax paper and flatten into a square shape-- about 3/4-inch thick. Cut into 4 equal pieces and wrap each separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, if not overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position a rack in the center of the oven. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Remove one portion of the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a well floured pastry mat or sheet of wax paper. Dust the top of the dough with flour and top with another sheet of wax paper. Roll the dough out until very thin-- about 1/8-inch thick.  Remove the top sheet of wax paper and trim dough into a large square. You can use a pastry wheel, a sharp knife, or do what I did and use your pizza cutter.  Cut the square into smaller squares (about 2 inches square is ideal, but you can be flexible depending on how small or large you want your kiffles to be). Set the scraps aside, roll together, and repeat.

Place about 3/4 tsp. of pastry filling in center of each square. Pinch together two opposite corners in the center as firmly as possible. Then fold that point over to one side, tuck under the bottom of the kiffle, and smooth down gently. This helps to prevent the cookie from popping open as it bakes, which I learned the hard way.  See the photo on the right for my sad first batch of popped kiffles.

Arrange cookies on the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden, about 12 to 14 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for about 1 minute, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack with a spatula. Repeat the process with the remaining 3 portions of dough.

It is best to store these between layers of waxed paper in a tightly closed container and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and dust lightly with confectioner's sugar before serving.

Makes about 5 dozen

Original (and delicious) recipe courtesy of My Gourmet Connection


  1. These look delicious! And they are such pretty cookies too. I've never tried poppyseed pastry filling. Sounds fabulous!

    1. Thanks, Danelle! The poppyseed filling was surprisingly good-- sweet and with a very interesting texture. A great contrast to the fruity fillings.


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