ŽIVJO! Hey there
“Živjo!” is a casual greeting in Slovenian and with today’s recipe, I definitely embraced my inner-Slovenian! Potica (poh-TEET-sah), is a yeast-raised dough rolled around a variety of fillings – sweet or savory. A traditional potica is filled with walnuts, poppyseeds or sometimes even both. Over the years, many have experimented with other fillings and while everyone has their favourite, making one is quite an accomplishment!
If you grew up in a Slovenian household and were lucky enough to have a mother, grandmother or relative who knew how to make potica, you probably had your share and then some. You may have even had a moment when you were potica’d out. Not to get sentimental on you but isn’t it funny how even when you distance yourself (like in your 20’s when you want to experience the world), you often come back to your roots? Did I mention that potica is a roll often shaped in a circle? Coincidence? I think not. 😉
On the flip-side, trying and experiencing new things broadens the world as you know it, teaches you lessons and makes you open to trying and experiencing more new things like…potica cookies! I’m sure one day I will post my, or my mother’s, recipe for potica but today – I bring you potica cookies! All the taste and texture with a lot less work!
Every family has their own favorite recipe for potica and a walnut potica, the most popular kind, can vary from one household to the next. In general, a potica dough has a soft, bread-like texture. As mentioned, the filling can vary but a traditional walnut or poppyseed filling is moist and not overly sweet. While sticking with a walnut filling for these cookies, I’ve already thought of many other variations that would work just as nice…umm, chocolate maybe?
The great thing about this recipe is that it can be done in stages, even over the course of numerous days. The dough can be made in advance and chilled until ready to use. The filling can also be made in advance. And the cookies themselves can be frozen once baked to be enjoyed later. So if you want to get a head start of baking for the holidays or a special event, this recipe has a lot to offer.
A light dusting of icing sugar just adds that bit of extra sweetness that compliments the earthy flavor of the walnuts so nicely. One bite and I instantly felt like I was having a slice of potica again. These cookies are that little taste of home, tradition and memories to me. I hope they too become a part of yours. Dober tek!
enjoy | liz | xo
- 1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter Butter, room temperature
- 8 oz (1 brick) cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 egg white
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 cups walnuts, ground
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
- Add the sugar and vanilla. Slowly add in the baking powder and flour until a soft dough forms.
- Form the dough into two balls and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 2 hours at minimum, no more than two days.
- In a stainless steel bowl held over a small pot of simmering (not boiling) water, add the egg white. Whisk the egg white constantly until it becomes foamy and opaque. Remove from heat.
- In another small saucepan, combine the butter, milk and sugar. Once the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat. Fold in the egg white into the milk mixture. Then add the walnuts and allow to cool for 20 minutes but no more than a few days. Once ready to use, just be sure to bring it to room temperature before spreading it across the dough.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- With the chilled dough brought back to room temperature, work the dough with your hands slightly to soften it. Roll the dough out to 1/8" thickness. I used a 3" cutter for my circles. Spread a small amount of filling on each piece of dough, keeping just a bit from the edges. Roll the circle into a little log, transfer to cookie sheet (seam side down) and press down slightly so that they don't open during baking.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for a few more minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving, if desired.
- These will stay fresh for about a week once baked. They also freeze really well! Allow about 30 minutes to 1 hour of thaw time prior to serving.
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