Happy Holidays!!! We all know spending (non-stressful) time with family is one of the best parts of the holidays but lets be real… the food is pretty dang awesome too!! Every family has their staple holiday treats. Some of my family’s favorites are your standard fare: peanut butter balls, fudge, and Heath bars. However, some are tied to my family’s German and Czechoslovakian heritage 🙂 On my father’s side there was always German Stollen and Pecan Snowballs on the desert table. On my Mom’s side, there were many loaves of poppy seed and nut rolls (Kolachi). As a kid, I had a hard time appreciating the stollen and poppy seed bread, but now, I would gladly eat all of these! Funny how your taste preferences changes as you grow up.
Out of the traditional deserts listed above, I chose to work towards the poppy seed roll and nut roll. Every year my mother, her sister, and my grandma would get together and make dozens of these delicious pastry rolls! They would work on the rolls while my cousins and I played. We lived a few states away, so there was always plenty of talking, laughing, and goofing off. Can I get an “AMEN!” for the kids table?!?! Looking back, sadly, I never had an interest to be involved in the baking process. I was probably having too much fun hanging out with my cousins and, likely, my mom, aunt, and grandma probably enjoyed the time without the kiddos to catch up themselves. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve had a slice of poppy seed or nut roll and this Christmas I’m craving them!! I asked my mom to send me the family recipe, which looks like it had be typed out on a typewriter and no detail was missed! My Grandma has an eye for detail, so I had a great base to work from! Naturally, this pastry usually contains a lot of milk, butter, and eggs. Make it vegan – Challenge accepted!!
I was SOO excited to tackle the poppy seed roll first. Well I didn’t leave myself enough time to master this one and I failed miserably to get the consistency of the filling right. Therefore, I went on to the nut roll figuring I would have better luck. The nut roll filling proved to be much easier to recreate!! Let it be said though, that no recipe creation or recreation is without it’s hiccups! Over time I was able to nail down the poppy seed roll too. You can check out that recipe here 🙂
Lessons in Baking/Cooking
- Read all the ingredients and make a grocery list!!
- I had skimmed over the ingredients and bought everything I thought I needed. Keyword thought – I forgot the sour cream!
- Read all of the directions before embarking!
- I carved out a good chunk of time one evening to make the rolls. Turns out the dough needs to rest overnight… whoops!
When I learned I had forgotten the sour cream I was like, “It’s all good. I’ll just make my own!”. Well, my homemade sour cream was way too sour and a little heavy. Try again!! The next time I used Tofutti sour cream and had much better luck! Crisis adverted! Through my experimenting, I will say that without the eggs its not quite as puffy/pastry like as I remember, but the flavor is still amazing!!
This recipe will make 4 nut rolls. Which, at first seems like a lot, but these rolls freeze like a champ and still taste amazing after they thaw. The recipe is pretty simple but it can be a little time consuming so it’s nice to just have some in the freezer! Who doesn’t like desert that you can just take out of the freezer??
What are your family’s favorite holiday treats?? What is your favorite holiday dessert?? Let me know in the comments below!
Vegan Slovak Nut Roll (Kolachi)
Yield 4 Loaves
A traditional Slovak sweet roll perfect for the holidays!
For the Dough
- 6 cups Flour
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 2 sticks of Earth Balance Butter
- 1 cup Tofutti Sour Cream
- 3 Flax Eggs
- 2 packages of Yeast (dissolved in 1/2 cup water and a tsp of sugar or agave)
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
For the Filling
- 4 cups Walnuts
- 2 cups Sugar
- 3 Tbsp Orange zest (about 1/2 of an orange)
- 2/3 cup Coconut Milk (NOT light) or Evaporated Coconut Milk
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
For the Dough
- Mix the yeast, water, and sweetener in a small bowl whisk vigorously and allow it to foam for about 5 minutes (I find doing this in a blender gets a good foam)
- Mix up the Flax Eggs and allow to set for ~5 minutes to thicken
- Add all of the dry ingredients to a Kitchen Aid mixing bowl
- Soften the butter in the microwave
- Mix together all of the wet ingredients in a bowl
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the Kitchen Aid bowl and knead with a dough hook.
- Knead until the dough forms a nice slightly sticky ball
- Divide into 4 equal balls, wrap in foil, and put in the refrigerator overnight
For the Filling
- Pulse the Walnuts and Sugar in a blender or food processor until fine
- Add in Orange Zest, Vanilla, and Coconut milk and combine
- Lightly grease 2 large cookie sheets or 11x17 rimmed baking sheet
- Pull the dough balls from the fridge and allow to soften on the counter for ~ 1 hr.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into approximately 9" x 15" x 1/4" thick (the most important thing here is the thickness, don't roll to thin!)
- Spread about 1 cup of the walnut filling onto the dough, keeping it about 1/2"-1" from the edge (It will look like there is not enough filling, but trust me, it will be enough once cooked!)
- Fold over the 1/2" strips on one long side and the 2 short sides (this will help keep the filling in.
- With the long edge facing you, roll the dough into a log - starting from the one long folded edge.
- Apply a little bit of milk on the seam then place the roll seam side down onto the cookie sheet. Allow to rise in a warm place for ~30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325*F
- Bake 2 rolls at a time for 31-35 minutes until the top is slightly golden.
- Eat right away or let cool and wrap in two layers of foil and store in the freezer.
Courses Dessert, Breakfast