{ Hungarian Cream Cheese Cookies – Kiffles }

When I was growing up, the the holidays were marked by my Hungarian grandmother’s homemade cream cheese cookies (or Kiffles, as they are called in Hungarian). They would make their first appearance on Thanksgiving, and then she would continue to bake them until Christmas day. I couldn’t get enough of these little cookies, eating them by the plateful (and always getting caught because of the powdered sugar trail I would leave behind).

A kiffle is a moist and delicate pastry dough filled with lekvar (tart prune) or apricot preserves. This year, I have decided to continue the family cookie tradition here in Buenos Aires by making my great grandmother’s original recipe (yes, this is it). It is a simple recipe to make because only a few ingredients are required and no “special equipment” is needed!

NOTES: It is very important that you be patient and allow the ingredients to properly soften before beginning, or the dough will not come together right. Also, I suggest using King Arthur flour in this recipe because it is the best flour for baking. Since the dough is composed of so few ingredients, it is really important those those couple be of a very high quality. Splurge on the King Arthur if you can, but the recipe will work if you can’t find it (I couldn’t here in Argentina, and my cookies still came out fine).

{ Ingredients }

**Makes about 48 cookies

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 stick of margarin, softened
  • 1 (8 ounce) package of Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups King Arthur flour
  • Lekvar or apricot preserves
  • Confectioner’s sugar

{ To Make the Cookies } Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using and electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the softened butter, margarin, and cream cheese. Add the vanilla extract and continue to mix until light and fluffy.

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Add 3 cups of flour and mix with hands. The dough should be smooth but not sticky. If it is too sticky, continue to add flour until the right consistency is achieved. Divide the dough into four balls, cover in plastic wrap and put in freezer for 20 minutes.

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Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and then cut the dough into small squares. Place a dollop of lekvar or apricot preserves in the center of the square and then bring two of the opposing dough corners together atop it.

Arrange cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and allow to bake for 7-8 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve!

27 Comments

Filed under Baking, Recipes

27 responses to “{ Hungarian Cream Cheese Cookies – Kiffles }

  1. Pat Markin -grandmother Matilda Toth

    I too remember my grandmother’s Lekvar Cookies as we called them, but her pastry used sour cream not cream cheese. We will be married fifty years next month and have served them each year to our four children.

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  8. Margie

    Why Not all. Butter? Why use Margarine, dosen’t Butter taste netter?

    • Jacqueline DeGraaf

      I’ve always used real salted butter (usually made at home). It depends on the dietary needs of people now days. 🙂

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  11. Fran

    I love the lekvar filling, but would like to know how to make the walnut filling also. My mother used to make these. Of course, lekvar is my favorite, but I want to make some walnut for a variation.

  12. mike

    Anonymous

    December 26, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    ok, we love kiffles my mouth is watering we used to get lekvar , apricot and rasberry filling at a hugarinan store in detroit . but he is out of business. any suggestions. longing for the best fillings. need help in texas

    • The authentic stuff is definitely the best, but I struggled to find lekvar here in Argentina this Christmas and so I opted for a very high quality jam instead. You can find it at whole foods or specialty stores. I found that the apricot is the easiest to replicate in quality and flavor.

      • Anonymous

        I use solo pastry and cake filling, works just the same. but your looking at around $3 a can

      • Jacqueline DeGraaf

        True lekvar is almost non-existent now days, but it realy is prune butter in American terms. It’s just not as thick as the ground, dried prunes we had then.

  13. Anonymous

    ok, we love kiffles my mouth is watering we used to get lekvar , apricot and rasberry filling at a hugarinan store in detroit . but he is out of business. any suggestions. longing for the best fillings. need help in texas

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  16. Donna

    Hi Lambchop,
    So proud of you that you are keeping the tradition alive. It was both of your grandmother’s tradition and probably their grandmother’s as well. I have not even ventured to make these little doughy clouds of goodness. They extremely addicting. The good news is that you can freeze them (without the powdered sugar) if you want to make them early in the season. Double the batch, freeze and waaahhla… you have some hostess gifts.
    Next year, we will do them together.
    Hugs and kisses!
    Mom

  17. Claire, I am so glad to hear that you and Andy got back to England safely! For 48 cookies, I used 100 grams of butter, 100 grams of margarine, and 1 (ounce) brick of philadelphia cream cheese (i believe this is about 230 grams). The King Arthur flour is just unbleached all-purpose flour, but it is what most bakeries use. I used regular flour off the Disco shelves and the cookies turned out as photographed, so it worked just fine! Also, you may need about 3 1/2- 4 cups of flour. Just keep mixing it in until you can hold the dough without it sticking to your fingers! Have a merry christmas!

    • Claire

      thank you, I’m off to my sisters tomorrow for Christmas crafts and baking in her fabulous big family kitchen so will give them a go. we are a family of bakers so I’ sure she’ll be keen to bake them with me.

  18. Claire

    Kendall, these look great I might make some for the family while in the UK, but please can I have some US to UK translation. We don’t have King Arthur flour, so what type of flour is it? Does it contain a raising agent? Also we don’t have butter in sticks so can you quantify into grams or ounces please. Thank you, i’ll let you know how they turn out…miss you guys 🙂

  19. These look delish! I could eat about…..let’s say…….18 in one sitting!! Yummy!!!

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