Polish Christmas Cookies - Kifli

24 cookies
30 min

These traditional Polish crescent cookies with walnut filling, also known as kifli, are buttery, delicate, and melt-in-your-mouth favorite Christmas cookies also loved at Easter and Passover.

Whether you call them kiflies, kifli, roszke, kolaczki, kolacky, or kolache, these easy walnut cookies feed the crowd and are the single most famous holiday treat that you can make.

Kifli (also spelled kiflies, kieflies, or kiffles) are the perfect cookies for sharing and gifting because, with just a handful of ingredients, you can have quite an incredible number of cookies.

Kiflies are favorite Eastern-European crescent cookies with flaky yeastless dough and heavenly walnut or fruit filling (usually jam, but you can also mix in dried fruit). They are rolled in powdered sugar, but they aren't overly sweet.

Rumor has it kifli originated in Hungary and are sometimes called kolache cookies - depending on the country, you will find them as rolls, roszke, rosky, or rosćići (little horns).

Either way, these delicacies will melt in your mouth, making this Christmas treat an unforgettable experience for everyone who tries one.

What are your Christmas traditions?

If you're from a European household like me, any "crescent cookie" sounds somewhat legendary. After all, these are something only your grandma could execute flawlessly; even then, it took years of practice!

Tell me your favorite Christmas cookie in the comments!

Don't forget to visit the original blog post for more tips and FAQs.

Polish Christmas Cookies - Kifli
Recipe details
  • 24  cookies
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 15 Minutes Total time: 30 min
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  • ▢ 1 1/2 cups flour
  • ▢ 1 stick unsalted cold butter, diced
  • ▢ 3 egg yolks from medium size eggs
  • ▢ 1/4 cup sour cream
  • ▢ 3 egg whites from medium size eggs
  • ▢ 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • ▢ 1 1/2 cups walnuts, ground or finely chopped
  • ▢ 2 cups powdered sugar
Prepare dry ingredients: Using a food processor or a pastry blender, blend the butter into the flour, creating a coarse, crumb-like consistency.
Prepare wet ingredients: Mix the egg yolks and sour cream in a large bowl.
Make the Dough: Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Blend and knead lightly until the consistency is like a pie dough. Shape into small, walnut-sized balls, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until fluffy. Add ⅓ of the sugar at a time and beat until well blended and the mixture is stiff.
Gently fold in the ground nuts.
Coat the dough balls: Whisk together two tablespoons of all-purpose flour and two tablespoons of sugar in a medium bowl. Take half of the dough balls out of the refrigerator and roll them into the flour/sugar mixture. Keep the rest chilled.
Roll the dough: Roll the balls out on a small amount of flour/sugar mixture into a thin circle.
Fill the dough: Place a heaping teaspoon of filling on each dough circle and roll it up into a crescent shape. Pinch the ends tightly - place seam-side down on a parchment paper-lined or greased cookie sheet.
Repeat the above steps with the rest of the dough and filling.
Bake the cookies: Bake kiflies in an oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly.
Coat the cookies: Roll the warm cookies in a bowl of confectioners' (powdered) sugar.
  • Add a teaspoon of rum, vanilla extract, cinnamon, or lemon zest to the filling if you prefer.
  • Roll the dough into walnut-size or smaller. You can also tear the dough into 24 equal-size pieces and then roll it into balls.
  • Make sure to roll your dough very thin, or it will puff up and crack.
  • Some filling might come out. No worries, there will still be enough left in the cookies.
  • Bake the cookies on two large cookie sheets in a convection setting or bake in batches.
  • This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.
All that's Jas
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  • Christina Gude Christina Gude on Oct 22, 2022

    I'm Polish heritage but was never taught any of the nuances of the culture (long sob story but now I'm making go of it). So...wishing to have a bit of Polish at Christmas, this sounds awesome. Am gonna give it a whirl!!! Thanks for publishing this!

  • Lois Buchanan Lois Buchanan on Nov 01, 2022

    My mother was taught a version of this recipe and I still make it for holiday get togethers. Its a family favorite and now a neighborhood favorite! But ours is a bit more labor intensive, Rolling the dough thin, cutting in squares, filling, folding opposite corners into make a boat and dusting with powered sugar. We filled with apricot filling, plum, nut, poppy seed, date and jams. Ours also started with bring a pound of butter to room temperature! Has to be good if it starts with butter, right!

    • Denise Kovacs Denise Kovacs on Dec 20, 2023

      I watched my grandmother make them. The same way as your recipe.