Kolac

  • Yield 75 pieces

"These walnut-filled sweet rolls came from Slovakia when my mother emigrated to the United States about 1920. The ground walnut filling is my favorite, but my mother also made it with ground poppy seeds. She liked to give away loaves because it made her feel good. My brother, my son, and I carry on the family legacy of baking this old-world pastry."

Ingredients

Dough:p
2 (1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Filling:
1 pound walnuts, ground
1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar, or to taste
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg or to taste
To assemble:
2 cups (4 sticks) butter, melted

Instructions

  1. To prepare the dough, combine the yeast with 1 cup warm (105 to 115F) water in a small bowl; stir to dissolve the yeast. Combine 1 cup warm (105 to 115F) water and the shortening in a separate bowl and stir until the shortening dissolves.
  2. Mix the sugar, salt, eggs, yeast mixture, and shortening mixture in a large bowl.
  3. Add 6 cups of the flour, 2 cups at a time. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth, adding another 1/2 cup flour if needed. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1/2 to 1 hour.
  4. To prepare the filling, combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl; mix well.
  5. To assemble, separate the dough into 5 pieces. On a floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to a 10 x 15-inch rectangle. Brush each piece with about 1/3 cup of the melted butter and sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of the filling mixture evenly over the dough. Roll up in jellyroll fashion to form a 15-inch roll and place on a cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces. Place rolls on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Brush lightly with melted butter, if desired. Place on wire racks to cool completely before slicing each roll into 15 pieces.

Recipe by Robert Shranko, Prescott, Ariz.

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