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Hungarian Nut Rolls

Allow time for yeast to rise with this Hungarian Nut Roll Recipe.  The result is worth it.

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour

Walnut Paste

  • 4 cups walnuts
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons cognac
  • 1/3 cup hot milk
  • 1 whole egg, beaten


Pour 1/3 cup warm milk in a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and a pinch of sugar over surface of milk. Stir to dissolve and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl using a wooden spoon or in work bowl of a heavy duty electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and beat vigorously for 1 minute. Beat in remaining 2/3 cup milk, lemon zest, salt, and 1 cup flour. Beat in remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough that just clears the sides of the bowl is formed.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 3 minutes, dusting with flour 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to prevent sticking. The dough will be very soft but not sticky.

Place dough in a greased deep container. Turn once to coat top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at cool room temperature for 4 to 6 hours, deflating once or twice, or as long as overnight in the refrigerator.

Gently deflate dough. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and divide into 4 equal portions. Form each portion into a thick rectangle, place on loosely floured parchment paper, cover loosely with a clean tea towel, and let rest for 30 minutes.

Filling: Combine walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor fitted with metal blade. Process until finely ground. Combine cognac and milk and, with motor running, pour mixture through feed tube in a slow, steady stream, processing until a thick, spreadable paste is formed.

Using a floured rolling pin on a very lightly floured work surface, roll or pat each dough portion into a 13-by-7-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Spread surface of each rectangle evenly with 1/4 of the nut paste. Working with one rectangle at a time and starting from a long side, fold over a 2-inch section. Continue to fold the dough in this manner to create a flattish oval (rather than round) long log of dough. Pinch the seams and place the dough, seam side down, on a greased baking sheet, fitting all 4 rolls horizontally on the pan about 2 inches apart. Brush with the egg glaze and prick all over with a fork. Let rest, uncovered, at room temperature about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Brush once more with beaten egg. Place baking sheet on a rack in center of oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden and loaves sound hollow when tapped. Let rest on baking sheet 10 minutes.

Using a large spatula, transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Cool completely.

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