An Eastern European Christmas and Easter tradition, this nut roll recipe can be made with ground walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, raisins and even a poppy seed filling.
Nut Roll Recipe
Risen with instant yeast and made exquisite by the addition of sour cream to the nut roll dough, this recipe is super easy to make and a holiday favorite. It literally tastes like Christmas!
Loaded with ground or roughly chopped walnuts, vanilla extract and a burst of citrus from orange zest, your house will be filled with a divine comforting smell that brings all the kids and grown ups into the kitchen.
This is an old world Kolachi recipe also going by the name Italian roll, Romanian Colaci cu Nuca, Hungarian Kolachi, Polish and Slovak roll.
About the Nuts
Please Don’t be stingy with the nuts, go as nutty as you can, tis’ the season after all! I grew up with a walnut filling from our own old walnut tree my grandpa planted before i was born, so I really get nostalgic about those. You can use pecans instead or mix up your favorite kind if you prefer. A recipe is nothing but a guide to inspire you.
A simple sprinkling of powdered sugar is all this classic dessert needs for a festive presentation. However, feel free to whip up a little decadent icing to drizzle over the top if you like.
Storage – traditionally kept at room temperature wrapped in a tea towel or in a bread box or basket. You could also freeze individual slices and pop in the toaster oven for breakfast.
Vegan – it can be easily done by using vegan butter sticks and sour cream instead, a flax egg and aquafaba egg wash. Easy!
Serving suggestions – sliced in 3/4 inch slices as a breakfast pastry or as a dessert on the Christmas cookie platter alongside Ricciarelli, Italian Wedding Cookies, ricotta cookies, baklava, cranberry bread and this cannoli cream.
Nut Roll Recipe
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 stick butter (you can use plant based)
- 3/4 cup warm milk (you can use full fat cashew or coconut)
- 3/4 cup sour cream (you can use dairy-free)
- 1 egg large
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 packet instant yeast
Nut Roll Filling
- 3.5 cup nuts (i used walnuts roughly chopped)
- zest from 1 orange
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tsp water
- 1 egg
- To the bowl of your kitchen aid mixer add the flour, butter, milk, sour cream, 1 egg, sea salt, yeast and 3 tbsp sugar. Mix to combine well and knead a few minutes until a smooth dough forms. The dough shouldn’t stick to the bowl.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for at least 1 hour.
- Meanwhile Make the Nut FillingMelt the butter in a large skillet and add sugars. Stir to combine well and remove from heat. Mix in the chopped nuts, vanilla extract, orange zest and allow to cool completely. Beat 1 egg and mix it with the cooled off nut roll filling. Set aside.
- After the dough has risen for 1 hour dump it on a lightly floured surface and cut it in 2 equal pieces.
- Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough and using a rolling pin roll the dough into a thin rectangle that you are comfortable rolling and working with.Spread half of the filling on top of the dough within 1/2 inch from the edges.
- Beat the egg with the water to make the egg wash and brush the edges of the dough. Gently start rolling the dough into a log starting with the long side. Pinch the ends and tuck underneath the roll.
- Layer a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the nut roll on top.
- Repeat the process with the remaining dough and filling and place the second roll on the baking sheet about 5 inches away from each other.
- Cover loosely with a tea towel and allow to rise for another 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat tour oven to 350 “F
- Brush the logs with the egg wash and bake in the preheated oven for 34 to 45 minutes until golden brown on top.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool off completely before slicing them. Garnish with powder sugar and serve.
- The Nuts - please Don't be stingy with the walnuts, go as nutty as you can, tis' the season after all! You can even mix up your favorite kind if you prefer. A recipe is nothing but a guide to inspire you.
- Storage - traditionally keep at room temperature wrapped in a tea towel or in a bread box. You could also freeze individual slices and pop in the toaster oven for breakfast.
- Vegan - it can be easily done by using vegan butter and sour cream, a flax egg and aquafaba egg wash.
- A classic sprinkling of powdered sugar is all this dessert needs for a festive presentation. However, feel free to whip up a little decadent icing to drizzle over the top if you like.
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