Nut Rolls

I am a few weeks behind on the nut roll extravaganza that is usually reserved for the holidays, but as I mentioned a couple of days ago, the holidays just totally got away from me. I did a ton of baking for the week and a half leading up to Christmas, and a lot of cooking for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and then I hit a wall. A massive brick wall. I had already ground all 3 pounds of the nuts needed for this recipe and had them in the refrigerator, but I just couldn’t do it. I needed some time off from the kitchen and to give myself a little vacation and time to recharge my kitchen batteries. Now that I’m back at it, I was determined to use those ground nuts and churn out nut roll! Besides, there’s never a bad time for nut roll, right?

This recipe is my mom’s best friend’s and my mom claims that she makes the best nut roll ever. Naturally, I had no choice but to give it a go. Now be prepared. This recipe makes 8, count ’em, 8 nut rolls. There are a lot of ingredients. There is cake yeast. I didn’t have it in me to start to figure out how this recipe could be scaled back. I went all-out. Nut rolls can be frozen really well, so problem solved. And really, once the ingredients are mixed, it’s not all that taxing to get them all rolled and baked. I would estimate that start to finish, these took me about 6 hours to complete. That includes 3 hours of inactive rise time, and an hour and 20 minutes of total baking time. I have included step-by-step photos in the recipe below to help guide you through each phase of preparation and baking.

I believe that my mom’s claim definitely held up. These are spectacular nut rolls. I had a nut roll over the holidays that was way too doughy and dry. The dough for this recipe is very, very soft, and the filling is quite moist. The filling-to-dough ratio is also very high, which keeps everything from drying out and packs a ton of flavor into even the smallest of slices. This is now my official go-to nut roll recipe, which I will churn out for the holidays from here on out!

One year ago: Cannoli
Three years ago: Banana Muffins

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Nut Roll Recipe

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

  • 2 oz. cake yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 6 eggs
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 10 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling:

  • 3 pounds ground walnuts
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 ounces (¾ cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Soften the yeast by placing it in the warm water and letting it sit for about 5 minutes.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed until combined, about a minute. Add the sour cream, melted butter, sugar, vanilla, salt and the softened yeast. Mix on medium speed until smooth and well-combined, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour a little at a time until it is all incorporated, and continue to mix until the dough does not stick and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

3. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the filling, stirring well to ensure that it is completely mixed and all of the ingredients are incorporated.

4. Divide the dough into eight pieces.

On a very well-floured surface and one at a time, roll each piece out into a rectangle roughly 9x-14 inches. Spread the filling to within about an inch of the edges. With the long side in front of you, roll up tightly and pinch the seams shut.

Place on baking sheets that are lined with parchment paper or that have been greased (2 rolls per sheet). Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Repeat with all eight pieces of dough. Let raise for 3 hours.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake one pan at a time for 20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned. Cool completely before slicing. Wrap leftovers in plastic wrap. To Freeze: Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and then in foil.

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