The walnut tree is a native of the Balkans and still grows abundantly in the wild. No wonder walnuts appear in many cookies, cakes and desserts from this area. The classic kifle cookie is very popular in Croatia.The little crescent was once only baked during Christmas, but is now made year round. The kifle was traditionally filled with walnuts but now you will find them stuffed with all kinds of different nuts, jam – and even with Nutella! I found recipes using a shortbread type dough, a dough made with cream cheese or with a yeast based one. I chose the shortbread type for my recipe. It is easy to use and very tasty. This buttery little crescent is an easy and satisfying cookie to bake. You don’t need many ingredients and the result is a nice large tray with elegantly dusted little half moons.
Kifle cookie from Croatia
for about 24 cookies
160 grams (1 cup) flour
100 grams (1 stick) unsalted cold butter, cubed
4 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
125 grams (1 cup) walnuts, shelled
30 milliliters (2 tbs) water
50 grams (3 tbs) sugar
grated rind of 1 lemon
icing sugar to dust
Quickly knead together the flour, the butter, the egg yolks, the sugar, the salt and the lemon juice into a ball.
Press flat and wrap in cling film. Leave to rest in the fridge for 2 hours, or preferably 1 night.
Grind the nuts finely. In a saucepan bring the water and sugar to the boil. Leave to boil gentl for about 3 mins. Take off the heat and mix in the nuts and the grated lemon rind.
Spread out and leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Divide the dough in two.
Roll out each part to a circle of about 22 cm ø (9 inches) between 2 sheets of baking paper. Put the dough back in the fridge to firm up again.
With a sharp knife divide the circle in 4 parts. Cut each part in 3 triangles. Place a teaspoon of the nut mixture on the end of every triangle.
Roll up the triangles from the outside to the inside to form little croissant-like rolls. Place them on a cookie sheet covered with baking paper and bake them for 10-15 mins. in the middle of the oven until golden brown and done. Leave them to cool on the cookie sheet and dust with icing sugar
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