Introduction: Walnut-Shaped Cookies With Homemade Dulce De Leche
These walnut-shaped cookies are traditional Russian treats. Their outer shell is made out of crispy shortbread, using a special metal mold, and the inside is filled with creamy Dulce de Leche.
They have a truly unique taste, that you can't find anywhere else but in Russia or Eastern Europe. Luckily, they're made out of very basic ingredients and the making process is also fairly simple.
The only piece of equipment you might not have is the skillet, but it can be bought from Amazon or they also sell these sometimes in Russian grocery stores: more about that later.
Butter (7 oz)
Sugar (1/3 cup)
Flour (12 oz)
Baking Soda (1tsp)
A Pinch of Salt
One Can of Condensed Milk (14 oz)
Butter (3.5 oz)
Step 1: Boil the Condensed Milk
To make the filling, start by boiling the can of condensed milk for two hours. You can buy cans of condensed milk that have already been boiled and sweetened from Russian grocery stores. But I guess that in the US there may not be Russian stores around every corner, so I'm giving you also the traditional method to make some USSR Dulce the Leche.
Make sure that the can stays underwater during the full two hours to avoid getting any weird stalactite formations on your kitchen ceiling.
Leave the can in the cold water to cool it down and don't attempt to open it right away, as the sugar inside is very hot and under pressure because of the heat. So be on the safe side and wait till the content has cooled down.
Step 2: Make the Dough
To make the dough, start by mixing sugar with room temperature butter.
Then add 2 eggs and mix them into the dough.
Mix the flour with the baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and add it to the dough.
Stir well until all the components have merged - I used a Kitchenaid to save time.
When the dough is done, place it in the refrigerator for at least half an hour to allow the dough to harden.
Step 3: Buy a Skillet
For the cooking process, you need a special skillet. Nowadays you can buy everything from Amazon and these cookie molds aren't an exemption.
There are two types of skillets: the first one goes in the oven and the other one is made to be used on top of a stove.
The oven skillets are very simple and effective to use: they also have a higher capacity, so you'll get your cookies quicker.
On the other hand, the ones that go on the top of a stove have a much smaller capacity and they are also more tedious to work with. They're also equipped with a high-end grease evacuation system that will turn your stove into a steampunk-themed painting in a matter of minutes. However, if you want to get the full experience of a Russian babushka making oreshkis for her grandchildren in a Siberian house without electricity, be sure to use the small mold like I did.
Step 4: Cook the Cookie Halves
Start by oiling the inside of the skillet: make sure to cover every surface that will be in contact with the dough or you'll have some hard time getting the scorched dough off the mold later. I used a paper towel to apply the oil while making sure that there isn't too much of it.
Then place the skillet on the stove and heat it until it makes a sound when touched with a wet finger. Once the skillet is hot, reduce the heat to medium.
Divide the dough into grape-sized balls, place them in the holes of the skillet, and firmly press the two halves together.
Cook each side of the skillet for around 20 seconds and keep an eye on the evolution of the cooking process. The cookies can go from golden brown to black in literally 10 seconds, so be attentive.
Once you've got the hand on the technique, you'll be done in no time :)
When the cookies have cooled down, use a pair of scissors to clean up their edges.
Step 5: Make the Dulce De Leche
Take the can of condensed milk that has now cooled down and mix it with 3.5 ounces of butter. Voilà, you've got some (Sovietic) homemade Dulce de Leche!
Step 6: Assemble the Cookies and Enjoy!
Now it's time to finally assemble the cookies!
Fill the cookie halves with Dulce de Leche and assemble them together: the stickiness of the sugar will keep the halves from falling apart.
Finally, place them in the refrigerator for an hour to allow the filling to harden and also bond with the cookies from the inside, adding additional flavor to them.
These cookies are best when just taken out of the refrigerator. For storage, use an airtight container and keep them cold.
Second Prize in the
Cookies Speed Challenge