Poppy Seed, Nutella, Halvah….what a slippery slope!

Projects for the sake of projects are sometimes…just projects.  Others, they are ridiculous excuses for deliciousness. Today was a case of the latter

It all started with a visit to a new grocery store about a year ago.  It was a strange mix of Eastern European and Far Eastern products.  Nothing grabbed me until I saw the can of poppy seed filling. I have made my own, and it is easy and yummy, so I am not sure why I decided to buy it.


Fast forward to this week, when I decide the pantry needed a good wipe.  I caught sight of the poppy seed filling, and decided that I needed to use it.  I looked online for uses for the can of goo (the project) and found a few that sounded o.k.  A few tweaks  of Elise Bauer’s recipe on Simply Recipes later, here is my version of…

Poppy Seed OR Nutella OR Halvah Yummies

  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can of poppy seed filling &/or Nutella &/or shredded halvah

For the wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp milk or cream


In a stand mixer bowl combine 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, and cinnamon; set aside.

In a small saucepan heat and stir the milk, butter, sugar and salt just until warm and butter is mostly melted.  DO NOT BRING TO A BOIL.

Add milk mixture to dry mixture along with the eggs and vanilla. Beat with the paddle attachment on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping side of bowl until all ingredients are incorporated. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.  (I mixed the whole thing in the mixer and it was great)

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour (if you need to) to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface. Cover and  let rise in a warm place until double in size (for 1-1/2 hours – 2 hours).

Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface (flour only if dough is sticky). Divide dough in half. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Roll each dough half into a 16×8 inch rectangle, about an 1/8 inch thick. Cut each rectangle into 8 4×4 squares. Place a large, heaping tablespoon of poppy seed filling OR Nutella OR a pile of shredded halvah onto the center of each square. Brush the four corners of each square with water. Draw the corners up and gently press together. Secure with a toothpick. Place on lined  baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Let rise in a warm place until nearly double (I used my oven (OFF) with the light on).




Brush with an egg wash made with one egg beaten with a tablespoon of milk or cream. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely. Remove toothpicks.

*** For the halvah, I decided to just make a roll.  I used some nutella, and put a blob of stringy halvah in the center. Next time I will just sprinkle the halvah over the whole surface.  Both methods work – rolls and the squares.  I’m guessing you can also cut the rolls, put into a pan or muffin cups and make spirals. THIS RECIPE SEEMS INFALLIBLE!




  1. Hi Rachel, Poppyseed, Halvah and Nutella: well that covers three of the most important food groups, does it not? I’ll definitely try this out.
    I’m fascinated by your easy-to-make poppyseed filling though. Do you grind the seed before cooking (as seems to be the German way) or after is has been blanched and soaked? I associate making these fillings with never ending mincing or putting fillings painstakingly through a coffee grinder. Do please share. My poppyseed loving family will be eternally grateful.


    Am I mistaken, or are these very much like Hamantaschen?

    1. You are my kind of girl!

      These are more like filled challah or broiche in terms of texture. More of a danish, less like a cookie than hamentashen.

      I never really thought of grinding the seeds, but it might be worth it. I usually do the filling without a recipe, but here goes, understanding it is all a guesstimate:

      1 cup poppy seeds
      1/2 cup milk or water
      1/4 cup honey (sugar works in a pinch)
      1/4 cup chopped raisins or dates IF YOU LIKE. adjust the honey/sugar depending if you add these.

      Combine the filling ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until it thickens, stirring often. Set filling aside to cool.

      1. Hehehe…

        But Nutella Hamentaschen – consider the possibilities…

        Actually I’m not sure how the nutella would cope with the oven heat in the open center of the cookie. Worth an experiment?

        If it works another possibility would be thumbprint cookies done with nutella in place of the jam – extra elegant if you rolled each cookie in ground or chopped hazlenuts first.

        Grinding your poppyseeds is a monumental pain the behind, but does leave you with the most beautiful soft, black deliciousness. You’ve just got to really love the people you are baking for.

        I bought a Czech poppy seed grinder. Useless on blanched poppyseed, so I borrowed my grandmother’s from my Aunty. But my German friends tell me they grind the seed dry. Next time I’m feeling strong enough for a session, I’ll let you know how it went.

        Your recipe looks much like mine. It calls on sugar for sweetness and honey for flavour. I like to use jumbo golden sultanas instead of raisins – they plump up beautifully. It’s not at all traditional, but I find a little orange zest can add an interesting dimension, but a little goes a long way.


      2. I think the nutella will be ok – a glob oozed out of the “yummies” and it was ok – just kind of crusty (not in a bad way). I will try it for sure! I like the orange zest addition – sometimes I actually add it to my hamentashen dough (it is really good for apricot, prune and poppy). Hmm… I feel a batch coming on!

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