Click on the Cookbook for the Recipes


Felvételeim nyilvános publikálása engedély nélkül nem használhatók.



Up until the late fifties my maternal grandmother lived in the outskirts of Budapest, called Rákoskert. It was a truly rural setting back then with fields and fields of corn, small pockets of locals and urban dwellers coming in for the weekend.

Rákoskert in 1957 

I spent my most memorable holidays with Nagymama. The yard was huge with all kinds of fruit trees. She had a dog, two goats, chickens, a rooster and some ducks. Grandma had two kitchens. She cooked the milk inside and some stuff in the summer kitchen. Just outside the fence there was a deep well. The water was always cold and unbelievably tasty. I liked everything about Rákoskert except the outhouse.

I found this picture on the Rákoskert website. This was the store where we went for supplies. All these years I had a mental image climbing up those stairs. I see now the risers were indeed too high for little legs. 

During the summer months, my grandmother’s place was a popular gathering place for my extended family. It was fun to meet up with aunts and uncles and my older cousin. Across the street there was a big house with a huge lot. The lot was filled with mature hazelnut bushes. I would look at those hazelnuts with longing. I always loved hazelnuts. I played war with a boy from that house; he was also staying with his grandmother. I fought well, but he died better. He kept coming over to play. One day my mother was there and she was still combing my long red hair when he arrived. He stroked my hair and asked my mom if my hair was as beautiful as he thought. My mother said indeed it was beautiful. When finally I convinced him to play at his house I wasn’t offered any hazelnuts. It is when I discovered that romance and food are intertwined. 

1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft 
1/3 cup sugar 
1 tsp pure vanilla extract 
1 cup flour 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/2 cup finely ground toasted hazelnuts 
4 squares of quality dark chocolate [112g or 4oz] 
1/3 cup finely ground toasted hazelnuts 

• To toast the hazelnuts, preheat oven to 350F. 
• Place the raw hazelnuts on the baking sheet and toast for 5-10 minutes. 
• Remove from the oven and let it cool down a bit. 
• When the hazelnuts are comfortable to touch by hand, transfer them into a clean kitchen towel and rub them. The skins will come off easily. 
• Next finely ground the hazelnuts, using a nut grinder or a food processor. 
• In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy. 
• In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt. 
• Add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and stir to combine. 
• Next add 1/2 cup of the finely ground hazelnuts and stir to combine. 
• Shape the dough into 4 logs 
• Wrap each log in plastic wrap and place the wrapped cookie dough in the freezer for 30 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
• Preheat the oven to 325F. 
• Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
• Unwrap one of the logs and slice. 
• Place the cookie slices on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart. 
• Bake for about 20 minutes. Don’t let the cookies get brown. 
• Transfer cookies to a rack to cool. 
• To decorate cookies, melt the chocolate in a double boiler over steam. Make sure the bottom of the pan does not touch the boiling water. 
• Dip half of the cookies on one side only, scraping the bottom against the pot to remove the chocolate. 
• Next dip the chocolate side into the remaining ground hazelnuts and place it on clean parchment paper to dry. 
• Repeat with remaining cookies.

Recipe is adapted from Hazelnut shortbread cookies recipe by Julia's Album


  1. Zsuzsa, Loved reading about your childhood in Hungry. Very interesting. Was your grandmothers name Nagy. That was my maiden name.
    The Hazelnut Shortbread cookies looks wonderful…I would love to have a few right now to enjoy with my tea.

    1. Kathy Nagy means large in Hungarian. In this context [nagymama] means grandmother. My grandmother's maiden name was Bernard. It looks like we are kindred spirits. About the tea and cookies. :-)

  2. Your stories of when you were a little girl are so sweet. I wish I remembered more of my own childhood but everything seems to have disappeared but a few vague memories.

    I grew up eating walnuts. I think my first taste of hazelnuts was Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Delicious so I'd love these cookies too.

    1. I think my first memory was laying on top of my grandmother's bed and trying to figure out my existence what was before I existed and what would have been if I didn't exist and if there would be a time when I won't exist. And how time works anyway. I went trough it logically than abandoned the idea it just became too large for my little brain. Judging by the layout of the room I was less than three years old. I am 65 now and I am still trying to figure it out. I now know I never will. I was born a Catholic and practiced for many years, but always an investigator I investigated the Bible too deeply. When two or three of the same story is different [as I found it in the Bible], logic tells me that either one is true or none of it is true. All of it certainly can't be true. I found hundreds of discrepancies. The priests learn about these in Seminary, but the lay person is never told. And most people just go through life excepting that everything in the Bible is true.

  3. Zsuzsa, you made my day; reading about your childhood story about your Nagymama! If I would start posting my childhood stories in Hungary...unfortunately, it would only go up to the age of...almost 9, but I still vividly remember a lot about my grandmother, and cousins as well!
    The hazelnut shortbread cookies are so perfect, and incredibly delicious...a must make!

    1. Ah Elisabeth some memories are good, some are not so good. I am the same way. The stories are aimed at my grandkids, so they get a a glimpse into my life in Hungary back then. I keep telling Jim to write a memoir, he is a wonderful writer, besides his stories would really be interesting. He is ten years older and was born in 1939, so that alone is telling. But he doesn't want to do it, some things are too painful to relive. A couple of times when his childhood buddy was visiting I took a video of them recounting their memories growing up in Banhida [a village near Tatabanya] and of their great escape. Jim came to Canada as a teenager with two of his friends, well actually they ran away from home during the 1956 Revolution.

  4. Hi Zsuzsa!
    Just made myself a cup of tea but have no sweets to heighten the pleasure of a tea break..I will make these for sure. Love hazelnuts.
    My husband would spend his summer vacation with his Hungarian grandparents too- he tells me stories of how his grandfather made his own kolbazs, and remembers the delicious cocoa filled bread his Nagymami made for him. Another thing he remembers are the huge down filled duvets piled up on the bed on the beds, a family treasure perhaps?

    1. Oh yeah! I am trying to remember what those things were called.... dunyha! You had to shake them up and by morning all the down was down at the bottom. OMG the dust mites it had to have with the down being constantly reused inside new covers! I insist on down filled pillows, but I have two layers of hypoallergenic covers over them and I wash and dry my pillows once a year. We never did that. Shudder shudder. But the kolbasz was heaven. :-)

  5. Oh Zsuzsa, I loved reading your story and seeing the photos... and such a beautiful recipe xox

  6. Dear Zsuzsa,

    I read with interest your blog and I like your writing very much. I live in Budapest and I love cooking. I have a start-up home cooking business with my friend. We make only authentic Hungarian and Jewish dishes for tourists coming to Budapest. We invite them to our home and we speak to them about Hungarian life, culture and origins of food.
    We have a Facebook site, where we like writing about interested topic related to cooking.
    We woluld like to write about you and ’zsuzsa in the kitchen’ website. Can you allow this for us?

    We are looking forward to your answer.

    Sincerely yours,

    Marti Bedő

    1. Thank you Marti for writing. I will be in touch.




My photo
I began to post recipes for my family and it turned out to be a work in progress. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has over 900 recipes of Hungarian and international recipes. My recipes are organized into a cookbook format. On top of the page click on the cookbook to get access to all my recipes. If I ever figure out how to add a printer friendly gadget I will add it. In the meantime feel free to cut and paste. Happy cooking!

Archived Recipes

All my previous posts are listed and organized into a cookbook. Click on the cookbook with the wooden spoon image on the upper left corner to access over 900 recipes. You may click on the archive below, but it can take a long time to load.

Blog Archive