Updated: Jan 23
This easy Nut Roll recipe is a beautiful pastry that is popular in Europe and often prepared around Christmas! It’s made with yeast and filled with ground nuts. The flavorings of the amaretto and vanilla are a truly beautiful combination and will fill your house with unbelievable aromas perfect for the holiday season. This roll makes for an excellent seasonal breakfast or dessert! Treat yourself and people you love this season with this delicious holiday treat!
The recipe came to me from the oldest gentleman in our church. Such a sweet little man, who has baked these nut rolls his entire life but can no longer manage making this recipe. It is always a pleasure to have my friends share their favorite recipes and especially ones that have been passed down in their families. Because of my passion for cooking and baking, I enjoy putting a little bit of Inna into every recipe. Therefore, the heart of this recipe is from Neil with a little bit of heartbeats from me.
Last year Neil came to my house, and we made these nut rolls together. He gave me a lot of instructions, guided me and was very involved in the entire process.
Once in a while he would get up from his chair to walk over and correct me. It was so cute, and I loved it! He would take the rolling pin from me and say, "Inna, watch me, roll thinner, thinner, we will get more rolls and people like them this way".
He is correct because it is so true; everyone loves more filling than dough, right?
He loved sampling the Amaretto, and kept saying, "Inna everything has to be tasted!" He even tasted the milk too. It was incredibly enjoyable and cute to watch him in his sampling process.
Bless his heart, Neil has spent his whole life as a member of the Orthodox Church of America and actively supports his parish.
During his childhood, which is nothing like what childhood is in these days, Neil was able to spend a lot of time with his mom in the kitchen, learning how to cook and bake. Neil was one of the 11 children. He survived the Great Depression and shared his stories with me about his younger years. His stories touched me and almost made me cry. My own mom grew up in the same conditions or worse on the other side of the ocean. I believed every word Neil said as he relayed these times of hardship. To this very day, he still hates the idea of wasting food.
Neil is a true respecter of food and has taken advantage of his baking skills to give to others even though he is aware of how much work goes into the process of making recipes by scratch. Giving his rolls as gifts for Christmas has been his thing, his tradition, and according to Neil, he is the only child from his family who carries on the tradition of making and sharing this family recipe.
I have often received these rolls as precious gifts made with love from Neil. Back in 2014 he tried to teach our church sisterhood how to make this Christmas treat and it didn't go well. After the whole process, most of the women never wanted to repeat it. LOL.
It is my hope he will enjoy this video and be happy that his recipe is being passed on from his Ukrainian mother (yes, he is a first generation American) to the next generation of Ukrainian and American people who really appreciate tradition and love Eastern European food. Enjoy this sweet treat!
HOW TO FREEZE NUT ROLLS?
After they have been baked and have cooled to room temperature, wrap each roll with plastic wrap and then place in freezable zip lock bags. Keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Let's do it...
Prep time: 5 minutes
Making time: 1 hour
Waiting time: 4-5 hours
Baking time: 45 minutes
Total time: 5 hours 50 minutes
Makes: 12 medium size rolls
Ingredients for the sponge
1/4cup of all-purpose flour
2 packages of yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 cups evaporated milk (warm about 50F)
Ingredients for the dough
8 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of sugar
339 grams or 3 sticks of butter cold (cut into chunks)
7 egg yolks
2-4 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Ingredients for nut filling
1-pound walnuts (roasted for the best result)
1-pound almonds (roasted for the best result)
1 and 1/3 cup of whole milk
1 cup of sugar (or more)
124 grams or 1 stick of butter (cold)
1/4 cup of amaretto or 2 teaspoons of almond extract
7 egg whites whipped with pinch of salt
Use one beaten egg with a little bit of water for the egg wash.
Activate the yeast by making a sponge. Add the sponge ingredients into a small bowl, whisk everything together and set aside.
To make the dough, add the flour to a big bowl and measure correctly. Add sugar and salt to the bowl of flour and whisk all together. Now add chunks of cold butter. Cut the butter into the flour just as you do when making pie crust. For this step use a pie crust cutter or food processor to speed up the process.
3. To the sponge add egg yolks and vanilla extract. Mix together.
4. To the bowl with dry ingredients (flour, butter, salt and sugar) add the sponge. Mix by hand until everything is incorporated and form the dough into a nice ball. The dough should be elastic, soft and not sticky on your hands. You can use an electric mixer with a hook attachment for this step.
5. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel (to prevent the dryness of the dough). Let rise for a few hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
6. To make the filling, add nuts into the food processor. Crush the nuts until they turn into almost a paste. Move them into the big bowl.
7. Add milk, butter and sugar into a small saucepan. Not scalding the milk can be challenging, so you must watch it closely! Once the butter melts and the milk begin to boil, turn off the heat, and remove the pot from the stove. Add the milk mixture into the crushed nuts. Mix all together.
8. Whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt until they have become soft peaks.
9. Add egg whites and amaretto into the nut mixture and with a spatula, gently fold to incorporate. Set aside.
10. To make the roll, take the risen dough and cut it into 12 pieces. Take each sliced piece and roll into a ball by taking the ends into one spot. (Watch the video for this step). Place the balls on a greased baking sheet. Keep the balls covered with a kitchen towel while you are working with one ball at the time.
11. Preheat the oven to 325F. Take one ball and on a well-floured surface and with a rolling pin roll dough into a rectangle. The thinner you roll out the dough the better.
12. Spread the nut filling evenly over your dough leaving one inch of exposed dough. Roll gently, first tucking in the sides of the roll. I recommend seeing the video for this step. Then place the roll onto a prepared baking sheet that is lined with baking paper. Seal down the dough.
13. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for an hour or until they have almost doubled in size.
14. Brush the rolls with the egg wash and bake for 30 minutes at 325F. After 30 minutes, increase the temperature to 350F and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack. Slice and enjoy with a cup of coffee!