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Walnut-Raisin-Lemon Kifli

A cookie rolled around a walnut stuffing
Prep Time 1 hr
Course Cookies
Cuisine American
Servings 50 cookies


  • 3 cups flour
  • pinch salt
  • 8 oz butter room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • zest from 2 lemons
  • 2 tbls sugar (plus 2 cups for filling)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3.5 cups walnuts, ground for the stuffing not too finely ground
  • cups raisins
  • 2 cups sugar noted above
  • 1-2 lemons, juiced add lemon juice to filling to taste
  • pinch salt again, this for the filling
  • powdered sugar for rolling and dusting
  • egg wash one yolk mixed with 2 tbls milk, optional


  • First make the dough: Sift flour and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  • In a 5 quart standing mixer with a paddle attachment, add cream cheese, butter sugar and lemon zest. Paddle on medium high speed for 3-5 minutes until creamy. Scrape side and pour in vanilla, cream for another 2 minutes.
  • Reduce speed of the mixer and then slowly sift in the flour mixture. Add the flour in 3 additions, to allow the flour to be fully mixed in each time. Once done adding all the flour, the cookie dough will be soft, but not sticky on your hands.
  • Begin to scoop out teaspoon sized kifli dough balls, roll to make a sphere/ball and place on a ½ sheet tray lined with parchment or silpat. Once all the dough is formed into balls, wrap tray in plastic wrap and put in the cooler overnight.
  • Next make the filling (it can be done the day before and refrigerated. In medium bowl pour in ground walnuts, golden rasins, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and combine.
  • Season mixture with a pinch of salt. Adjust filling to taste, add more lemon if needed, more sugar or salt. You can even add your favorite warm spice (cardamom, nutmeg, all-spice) or just keep it simple and traditional. Use or refrigerate until reading to finish the cookies.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F./ 177 degrees C.
  • Prepare to roll out the kifli balls by clearing a space on your counter, dust surface with powdered sugar and use a rolling pin. Grab walnut filling mixture and spoon.
  • Remove the sheet tray from the cooler with the kifli dough balls and begin rolling flat disks out of the balls. Roll each round as thin as possible or 1/16”, but be sure the dough can be moved and hold the filling.
  • Once the ball is rolled into a circle/oval, about the size of your palm, place a small line of the  filling near the end closet to you. Be sure to leave a space on the edges.
  • When the filling is evenly spread start rolling the kifli up, place the edge of the dough closet to you and then delicately roll up. You do not need to tightly roll the kifli. Once rolled, leave the seam side down, then shape into a “u” shape or “horn” and pinch the ends.
  • Place the kifli “horn” “U” onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Be sure to leave about 1” in between each kilfi. Egg wash if desired.
  • Bake kifli for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and slightly puffed. Remove kulfi from oven, cool on tray for 10 minutes, then place on cooling rack.
  • Once cooled dust with powdered sugar before serving. Enjoy with coffee, tea or hot cocoa. Bet you can’t each just one!
Keyword holiday cookies, kifli