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Kolachki (Little Nut Roll)

kolachi pastry slices on a cutting board

Makes 8, 12-inch loaves

For the Dough:

10 cups cup all-purpose flour
4 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 tsp finely ground sea salt
2 1/4 Tbsp active dry yeast
14 oz European unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups whole milk, divided
6 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1 cup sour cream

For the Nut Filling:

2 lb chopped walnuts, toasted at 325º for 8 minutes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp unsulfured molasses

kolachi

Make the Dough

• Mix flour, sugar, and salt with dough hook of standing mixer.
• Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm (110º-115º) water. Allow to stand a few minutes, until mixture looks bubbly and frothy.
• Add to flour mixture; mix on low speed.
• Add 12 ounces butter; mix on low speed until uniform in texture.
• Add one cup of milk, four eggs, and one teaspoon of vanilla; mix until combined.
• Add sour cream; mix until combined.
• Mix dough for 5 – 7 minutes until smooth and elastic. You may also knead the dough by hand on a smooth countertop, if you prefer. Add small amounts of milk or flour to adjust consistency if necessary.
• Place dough in a 7-quart bowl prepared with cooking spray; cover with a damp lint-free kitchen towel. Allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2-2 hours.

Make the Nut Filling

• Melt two ounces butter with 1/3 cup milk in a medium saucepan over low heat.
• Whisk in one teaspoon of vanilla and two eggs; combine well.
• Add nuts and cinnamon; combine until uniform. Heat 5-10 minutes over low heat to blend mixture.
• Add four cups sugar and molasses; stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.
• Turn off heat; leave pot on burner until ready to use.

Assemble and Bake

• Divide dough into eight equal balls. Divide filling evenly into eight portions.
• Prepare four silicon- or parchment-lined baking sheets.
• Roll one ball into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle; spread filling over dough leaving a 1/2-inch border around three sides. Roll dough beginning from long edge on side without the filling border, like a jelly roll. Make sure the seals on the bottom and ends are secure. Place seam side down on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
• Proof rolls for one hour or until slight depression of the dough springs back.
• Preheat oven to 350º. Pierce loaves with a fork. Brush top and sides of each loaf with two tablespoons sour cream.
• Bake for 30 minutes, or until bottom is golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for five minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes: This recipe is from my father-in-law, Raymond Pass. Kolachki are part of their family’s Christmas and Easter traditions. I remember stories of Mom and Dad Pass painstakingly hulling walnuts for the filling. Kolachki are sometimes made with poppy seed filling.

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