9 Best Eastern European Nut Cookie Recipes

From Russian Tea Cakes to Czech Vanilla Crescents

Eastern Europeans use nuts in every course of the meal, but nuts really shine in their desserts and cookies. Almonds and walnuts, as well as pecans, are the most commonly used nuts, but other varieties such as hazelnuts make their way into some of these traditional recipes, many of which have been passed down from generation to generation. Here are the top nine Eastern European nut cookie recipes.

  • 01 of 09
    Kifle
    Kifle. © Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.

    This time-honored, traditional recipe for walnut crescent cookies is common throughout the Balkans and throughout the world. The dough doesn't contain nuts but the filling does. (Some fillings, however, are just jam and no nuts at all.) There are several versions of the dough—some with yeast, some without—but the main commonality is how the cookies are formed: small amounts of dough are rolled thinly, the filling is spooned on top, and then the dough is rolled up, creating a crescent shape.

  • 02 of 09
    Russian Tea Cakes
    Kemi H Photography / Getty Images

    Russian Tea Cakes is a misleading name since these are actually cookies. These cookies exist in one form or another in almost every culture—they are similar to Mexican wedding cakes. This version is made with walnuts, while other recipes (perhaps Polish) include pecans. A dough of butter, flour, sugar, vanilla, and ground walnuts is rolled into balls and then dusted with confectioner's sugar.

  • 03 of 09
    Decorated Holiday Christmas Cookies And Biscuits
    GMVozd / Getty Images

    The traditional way to prepare Polish pecan cookies is by enveloping a pecan half in the fragile dough. You can take a shortcut by adding ground pecans to the dough and forming it into crescent shapes if you like. The classic shape of this cookie is a crescent, where you roll out small amounts of dough into triangles and then roll up, but you can also make more simple circle cookies.

  • 04 of 09
    Vanocni cukrovi 2
    Vanocni cukrovi 2. Rémi Diligent / Wikimedia Commons / PD-Self

    From Croatia to Hungry, these crescent cookies are a big part of Eastern European culinary culture. You may see it spelled as roski, rozky, rosky, and roscici, which means "little horns"—and that's exactly what the cookies look like when they're baked. After the dough is refrigerated, it is rolled out and cut into squares; then the walnut filling is spread on and the dough is shaped into crescents.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09
    Polish Florentine Cookies or Florentynki
    Polish Florentine Cookies or Florentynki. © Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.

    This recipe for Polish florentines combines almonds and candied orange peel with a warm mixture of sugar, butter, cream, and cornstarch to create a delicate but rich wafer. A smear of chocolate on the bottom adds a decadent touch.

  • 06 of 09
    Czech Vanilla Crescents
    Claire Cohen

    These Czech vanilla crescents are eaten year-round, but they are perfect for Christmas time as the confectioner's sugar looks like fallen snow. This recipe calls for almonds or hazelnuts, so choose which nut you and your family like best—or make a batch of both!

  • 07 of 09
    Polish Almond Cookies or Amaretti
    Polish Almond Cookies or Amaretti. © Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.

    A traditional Polish Christmas cookie, these Amaretti are also gluten-free, as they don't contain any flour but instead use ground almonds. Egg whites are whipped with sugar and then added to the remaining four ingredients; the dough is then simply scooped onto cookie sheets and baked. 

  • 08 of 09
    Polish Walnut-Shaped Cookies or Ciasteczka Orzeszki
    Polish Walnut-Shaped Cookies or Ciasteczka Orzeszki. © Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.

    These cookies are a bit time-consuming to make but are worth it. The soft and buttery cookies are sandwiched together with a creamy filling, usually made with ground walnuts. You will need special walnut-shaped cookie molds for this recipe.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09
    Czech Bar Cookies
    Czech Bar Cookies. © Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.

    In this recipe, the walnut shortbread cookie dough is divided in two and layered in between with ​an almond-strawberry filling. The almond does a nice job of toning down the richness of the dough and complements the fruit filling perfectly.