Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kiffles or something like them...

This year part of Christmas gifting included baking an assortment of cookies.  Most of them were prepared in anticipation of various holiday festivities: dinners, work parties, family gatherings, etc.  One batch though was the gift intended for my dad.  He always requests that we buy him nothing, and we never comply.  But I'm on a three or four year run of gifting him books and/or a good bottle of spirits and decided this year we'd mix it up.


We have a family friend, who is a contemporary of my grandmother.  Her name is Cecilia.  She worked at my elementary school when I was a student there and has since retired and still lives in my hometown.  She and my grandparents were/are friends, and my dad would go over to help her prepare her house for winter just prior to Christmas.  In exchange she would always give him a box of home-made cookies, kiffles.  These cookies never went out onto the trays that we put out for guests.  In fact, they were mostly forgotten by everyone except dad, who tucked them away in the deep freeze.  He would ration them out slowly, and usually to himself, and they would last well past the holidays.  

Ready for rolling...

Well Cecilia had some improvements made to her home and she no longer needs help winterizing the place.  So dad's been in a bit of a kiffle drought.  But I remedied that this year.  He received (nearly) an entire batch for himself as a gift.  

Raspberry filling

I'm going to share the recipe here with you, as Cecilia shared it with me.  It does deviate from most online recipes that I've found, in some significant ways (like the absence of cream cheese or active ingredients in the dough), but I assure you that they are delicious and worth the effort.

Headed for the oven.

(Makes 10 dozen)

4 cups flour
1 lb. firm butter
10 egg yolks
4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
Granulated sugar
Filling of your choice*
Powdered sugar

Combine the flour and butter until thoroughly blended as you would for pie dough.
In a separate bowl, mix together the egg yolks, lightly beaten with the whipping cream and vanilla. Add this egg mixture to the flour mixture and blend well until the dough is smooth.
Divide the dough into four balls and wrap each in waxed paper. Refrigerate at least 6 hours.
Next slice the dough and form into large marbles. The total dough should yield about 120 balls. Cover and refrigerate the dough again in "marble" form for another six hours.
Take out about ten balls at a time and roll each gently in granulated sugar. (Be conservative with the sugar, if you mix in too much the kiffles will rupture when you bake them.) Place a small amount of filling in the rolled out circle of dough and roll the dough closed, and form into a crescent shape. Work in a cool kitchen or dough will stick to the board.
Bake at 250°F fist and gradually increase to 300°, and bake until golden brown. (I found it worked to bake at 250° for 20 minutes and then increase to 300° for an additional 15 minutes or so.) Remove immediately – place on a cooling rack and sprinkle powdered sugar on top when completely cool.

* Fillings:  I made one filling from scratch, the other I cheated and used a can of Solo Raspberry pastry filling.  Both turned out really well.  I think nut fillings or poppyseed would work well too.

The home-made filling was apricot.  I used one package of dried apricots and added just enough water to cover them and brought them to a boil.  Cook them until they are tender.  Drain the water and mash them (or put into a food processor), add a bit of sugar and lemon juice to taste.  Refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Happy eating.


  1. Yum! We ate them all!!!! Not really, but we're working on it! Love, Mom

  2. I'm bookmarking these to make later, they are lovely.

  3. Jen and Kate. They are good, but a little labor intensive... and the best news is that they are no longer under my roof, which means I cannot eat any more of them! :)