Walnut Roll

 The following post was sponsored by my friends at Red Star Yeast. With the help of brands like theirs, I am able to take time out of my week to bring you all new recipes!

It's been insanely cold in New Hampshire the last couple of days. Just a couple weeks ago, we had some 60 degree days, in which we were outside playing in short sleeves. Today, it's -2 without the wind chill factor. I will be spending my day making sure our furnace, and fireplace can keep the house up to temperature to avoid any frozen pipes. Oh the joys of living in an old  house with little insulation during the winter, in New England.

Growing up we only had wood heat, so the struggle during the winter was real. It was a daily occurrence having frozen pipes, and cold floors. Every morning you could hear my dad in the bathroom or kitchen with my mom's blow-dryer thawing the sinks. Even if you kept the water flowing all night, they eventually would freeze anyways.  One year we had such a deep freeze, my parents could not keep our bedrooms warm, it didn't help that the only wood they could afford that year, was not fully dry. Anyone who has a wood stove knows that you can't keep a good fire going with green wood. So imagine the struggle of heating your home when it's -20 outside on green wood, with 3 little kids inside. Pure stress. 

My dad at that point, had no choice but to go into our attic to find dry things to burn. He got that fire cranking by burning boxes of old books, and furniture that was in the attic. They then  moved their big bed into the dinning room (where the wood stove was), nailed blankets around the large doorway into the living room to close it all off, just heating the kitchen, dinning and bathroom. All five of us slept in their bed by the wood stove until the deep freeze passed. Now as a mom of 3 kids, I can't even imagine the stress my parents were under trying to keep their family warm that winter, but as a kid I remember thinking it was an adventure of sorts, and what little kid doesn't like sleeping in bed with their parents? It was a treat to us!

That story is the equivalent to our grandparent's "I walked to school 3 miles, up hill in the snow, with no shoes!" story. My kids roll their eyes when I give them the lecture on how poor some families are... how poor I was growing up... and how lucky they are to have this cozy warm house with plenty of food in their bellies. When I think back on it, it also gives me an appreciation for my parents. They did what they had to do, and kept us kids warm and stress free that winter.

*FYI the following year they installed a new heating system, we were never that cold again!*

It's days like these I welcome the chance to bake all day long. Running the oven helps keep the house toasty and warm. Not to mention the smell of fresh baked breads and cookies might be the most comforting cozy smell of all time. So while it may be so cold outside that your face starts to hurt, and your nose hair and eyelashes freeze together. Inside my home we'll have plenty to eat, and a fresh pot of coffee going to warm our bones.

This time of year there is an Eastern European bread that is traditionally made at Christmas time called a Walnut Roll. It's a sweet bread, rolled with a walnut mixture, baked in a large loaf, and then sliced and served with powdered sugar, alongside coffee.

It is possibly one of the best sweet breads I have ever made, and I can't wait to share this recipe with my family during the holidays. It will undoubtedly keep us warm all holiday season!

Walnut Roll
Recipe from Red Star Yeast

For the dough:

  • 2 packages (4½ tsp, ½oz, 14g) RED STAR Platinum Superior Baking Yeast
  • 3½ cups bread flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature

For the filling:

  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 2 cups walnuts, freshly ground
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, room temperature
  • ½ tsp vanilla
For the topping:
  • Melted butter for brushing on baked rolls
  • Powdered sugar


Combine yeast, 1½ cups flour, sugar and salt. Heat milk, sour cream and butter to 120-130°F. Add to flour mixture; blend on low speed. Add egg yolks and egg; beat 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed. By hand stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. 

Knead on lightly floured surface 5 to 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl; turn to grease top. Cover; let rise until dough tests ripe.

Prepare Filling: In a medium-sized saucepan, combine slightly beaten egg, milk, walnuts, sugars and butter. Cook on medium heat until mixture resembles a paste, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; cool. Stir in vanilla.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; punch down to remove air bubbles. Cover; let dough relax for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 2 parts. On lightly floured surface, roll each half to a 12x12-inch square. Spread half of cooled Filling to within 1 inch of edges. 

Roll up tightly. Pinch edges to seal; turn ends under. Place seam-side down on greased baking sheet.* Repeat with remaining dough. 

Prick top of roll every 3 inches with fork to eliminate air bubbles. 

Cover; let rise in warm place until indentation remains when lightly touched. 

Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes until browned. Cover lightly with foil to prevent over browning. 

Brush with melted butter to maintain a soft crust. Breads are very fragile when warm. Using two spatulas carefully lift Walnut Roll from baking sheet onto rack to cool. 

Sprinkle with powdered sugar when cool; slice to serve.

*Using parchment paper to line baking sheet makes it easier to transfer rolls to cooling rack.
(Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation to write this post on behalf of Red Star Yeast. However, as always... all opinions are 100% my own!)


  1. We make something similar though I haven't made it in a few years

  2. This is exactly what I"m craving on this frigid day. Sweet baked things. Send me some?

  3. Love using baking as a way to heat up the house on chilly days. I had a (little less extreme but similar) experience growing up during a big snow storm hit and we didn't have electricity for 4 day to heat the house. Our whole family slept in the living room next to the fire in sleeping bags and made campfire food in the living room. It was such an adventure as a kid but looking back, I'm sure it was very stressful for my parents.

  4. It's so cold here too!! I can't wait to try this. Never made anything like it before!

  5. It has been freezing here too as of late. Our couch has become a fort of blankets and pillows. :) This walnut roll would be perfect for Christmas morning. It would be perfect right now with my morning coffee as well! xo

  6. I remember having to shrink wrap all of our windows with that thick plastic as a kid, just to keep the draft out in our barely insulated house! Something as warm and comforting as this roll would've been nice.

  7. Last week was brutal! Definitely a little more reasonable this week! This walnut roll looks perfect for the holidays!