A Labor of Love: Mom’s Nut Rolls

This post is dedicated to my two sisters for whom I’ve made these nut rolls to celebrate one more Christmas together with our Mom. I don’t say enough how much I appreciate you.

I may have mentioned this before in my posts that my Mother suffers from dementia. My Dad, my sisters and I have watched her slowly fade from reality for the past five years.

When this happens, you begin to appreciate your roots, the traditions and the efforts that your parents made to make the holidays special. In our home, my Mom would stay true to the Slovak tradition. For many years, I took it all for granted and didn’t follow the tradition when I left home. In fact, I took a lot for granted until I started to see it slip slowly away.

Mom was an excellent cook and baker. Mom lived to cook and feed anyone who would enter her home – that was her gift of love.

Being Slovak, every holiday had an Eastern European flair.

Many years ago, my youngest sister and my cousin tackled this huge project in collaborating and producing a family cookbook.

As the title says, it is “More Than a Cookbook”…

It is a collection of my Mother’s family’s memories, tributes, history, recipes, traditions and photos of life as we knew it growing up.

As Mom’s memory fades, I find myself clinging tighter to the traditions so I can give a snippet of my heritage to my children and hope that they will keep it alive.  You can’t buy this book in a store and I doubt if I can get another copy at this point. This is my most treasured cookbook.

I began this blog to recreate the recipes, experience the effort it takes to make this recipes and share it with you.

Every Christmas, Mom would make nut rolls for the Christmas table but also for gifts for us and whoever would show up for the holidays. Mom would have at least fifteen nut rolls frozen in her freezer ready to give away.

I now appreciate her nut rolls for it is 3 o’clock in the afternoon and I still have my jammies on…and I started the nut rolls first thing in the morning.

So if you have nuts on your hands….

and a day to spare…

try this recipe!

It’s a wonderful recipe.

My grandfather (Jedo) belonged to Jednota Society. They received a monthly paper in part Slovak and part English. Mom couldn’t wait until it came in. They had great recipes…this is one of them.

The original recipe required hand kneading of the dough and chilling it overnight. I’ve ‘modernized’ it a bit and brought it down to a one day project!

Mom would want me to share this recipe with you…so here we go!

Begin by preparing the yeast mixture….

Scald the milk and let cool until it’s warm to touch.

Add 2 tbsp. sugar and yeast. Stir loosely with a fork and let sit for about 5 minutes.

After a few minutes, the yeast will create its own magic. Oh I love baking with yeast!

While the yeast is rising…beat 3 eggs in the mixer.

Add melted butter, sour cream, the rest of the sugar, vanilla, salt and  finally, the yeast mixture.

Slowly add 7 generous cups of flour, one cup at a time until dough is sticky and pulls away from the bowl.

At this point, I switch the paddle of my mixer out to the dough hook and knead the dough in the mixer for 10 minutes.

The dough will be soft and sticky…and my one piece of advice to you…



Flour your hands, flour the work area, flour where the dough will sit and flour as you roll it out.

There, now I told you…if it sticks, you were warned.

Divide the dough up into 5 balls of dough.

Roll the dough out into an approximate 9 x 12 rectangle.

Squeeze some honey over the dough…

and spread with the nut filling (recipe below).

Tuck in the side and tightly roll up the length of the dough pinching the seams once rolled.

Place on a parchment lined (or lightly greased) baking pan, cover with saran wrap and let rise for about 2 hours.

I did make one poppy seed filled roll for Christmas Day. It’s not my favorite but I know my Dad loves them. You will find the recipe for the filling below.

After two hours of rising, bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes taking care that the bottoms don’t burn.

While warm, I rub a stick of butter over the rolls.

Let cool….

and enjoy…

or in my Mom’s spirit, give one away! (They freeze very well)

My gift to you. Happy Holidays!

Mom’s Nut Rolls
A Kitchen Muse: A Kitchen Muse
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 5 rolls
A traditional Slovak holiday dessert.
  • DOUGH:
  • 7 generous cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cake yeast (1½ oz.) or 3 packets (1/4 oz.) dry yeast
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups warm milk
  • 2 lb. ground walnuts
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ lb. poppy seeds
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup scalded milk
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter
  1. Scald milk and let cool until warm to touch. Add 2 tbsp. of the sugar and yeast. Stir with fork and let sit until bubbly. Beat eggs in mixer and add the rest of the sugar, salt, vanilla, butter, sour cream and yeast mixture. Slowly add flour (one cup at a time) until dough starts to pull away from bowl. Flour hands and work area generously for the dough will be sticky. Knead for 10 minutes. Refrigerate dough for at least six hours or overnight.
  2. Divide into 5 balls of dough. Roll out each ball of dough into an approximate 9 x 12 rectangle. Spread nut or poppy seed filling to within 1 inch of the edge. Tucking in sides, roll tightly lengthwise pinching the seams once complete. Place rolls on parchment-lined (or lightly greased) baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm area for about 2 hours.
  3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes watching to make sure the bottoms don’t burn.
  4. FILLING INSTRUCTIONS: Combine ingredients and mix well. (On the poppy seed rolls, I like to sprinkle filling with golden raisins)

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