Made with a tender, yeasted dough rolled up in a cigar shape with a simple, lemony, ground nut filling
Servings: 225 cookies
For the dough:
- 2 packages active dry yeast, (two 1/4 ounce packages or 4 1/2 teaspoons total)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6 ½ to 7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 pound unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large egg
- 3 egg yolks
For the nut filling:
- 1 pound pecans, ground fine
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- zest of 1 lemon
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 egg whites
For rolling out the dough:
- 2 +/- additional cups of granulated sugar to roll out the dough
- 3 egg whites lightly beaten, mixed with 1 teaspoon water for brushing on top of the cookies before baking.
To make the dough:
Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the flour, salt, and chunks of butter. Mix until crumbly.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks, cream and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add yeast, and the cream and eggs. Fit the dough hook on the stand mixer and blend until the dough comes together and is smooth.
Press the dough into the prepared pan and cut it into 9 equal sized pieces. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 8 hours or overnight.
To make the filling:
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground nuts, lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon zest. In a separate clean bowl with clean beaters, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Alternate adding the sugar and egg whites to the nut mixture until all is incorporated. Add more sugar or lemon juice if needed to taste. Do not over mix. Set aside.
To make the cookies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Fill a small, flat bowl with 1/2 cup granulated sugar. This will be used for rolling the cookies.
Remove one square of the chilled dough, leaving the rest in the refrigerator. Dust a clean work surface with granulated sugar. Roll out the dough to a 10x10 inch square. Using a rolling pastry cutter, cut the dough evenly into 2x2 inch squares.
Spread about 1 teaspoon of the nut filling onto each square leaving one end clean (about 1/3 of the dough square). Roll into a cigar shape. Using your finger or a small brush, spread a little of the egg white wash mixture down the clean side of the dough, press to seal. Brush the outside of the cookie with additional egg white and then lightly roll in granulated sugar. Place seem side down on the prepared baking sheet. Continue rolling until you fill the pan.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes or until light brown. Dust cooled cookies with powdered sugar just before serving. Store in an airtight container.
I recommend cutting the recipe in half unless you need 225 cookies.
Changes from the original recipe I received:
1. Annie's original recipe calls for one package of yeast instead of the two that was typed on my copy. After trying my cookies, Annie preferred the puffier dough so much, they're going to make Roczki with two packages of yeast next time. Yeah! A happy accident.
2. Vanilla has been added to the dough and filling not originally on my recipe copy.
3. The original recipe called for half butter and half margarine. I tested with all butter.
4. I tested making apricot bowties but due to the added yeast in my dough, they would not stay together and puffed up bigger than they should. I only tested one batch with the apricot filling (Solo brand) and didn't take photos.
5. Annie brushes melted butter on top of her cookies before baking. I tested this method and also tried brushed on egg whites. In addition I tested baking the cookies without either. My preference is a lightly brushed on egg white wash. The cookie bakes up with a nice thin crust and soft puffy middle.
6. The original recipe I received called for the (9) dough pieces to be rolled into 10x14-inch rectangles, then cut into 2x2-inch squares. I found the dough to be too thin, and at those calculations, the recipe will make 315 cookies. I rolled the dough into 10x10-inch squares and ended up with 225 cookies.
7. The prepared unbaked dough may be frozen or stored in the refrigerator for up to a week before baking. Or you may bake a few batches at a time as needed or when time allows.