Oreshki with a coffee.

Popoques – Walnut Waffle Cookies

Golden and crispy on the outside, these walnut-shell cookies (called “Popoque” in Armenian and “Oreshki” in Russian) are brimming with luscious cream frosting. The little walnut shaped cookies, filled with caramel cream, are fun and exciting. These bite-sized treasures are perfect for any occasion and are beloved by kids and adults. They can be an ideal gift for this holiday season.

Chronicles of Popoque (Oreshki)

Images of little walnut-shaped cookies were surfacing from my childhood memories. Popoques (or Oreshki) were so popular in the 80s, every household in the Soviet Bloc owned the special waffle-making mold for making the cookie shells. I haven’t thought of those cookies for years, but all of a sudden they rejuvenated in my mind. On my last trip to Armenia, it was my mission to “smuggle” back a waffle iron to the US, and I did, and now I create my very own cookies.

Walnut cookies on a board.

What’s unique about this Recipe?

  • First, let’s talk about their unique shape. It’s not just cute; it’s fun, and incredibly versatile.
  • Speaking of versatility, you can use these walnut-shaped cookies for all sorts of delicious creations; even try filling them with ice cream and freezing them!
  • They’re sure to be the star at any party.
  • They make the perfect gift (and present well in a box.)

Grocery and Pantry List

  • Eggs: Whole egg is used in this recipe.
  • Sugar: The dough is using just a little bit of sugar. Granulated sugar will be just fine.
  • Oil: Use oil with neutral flavor. I like using almond or grapeseed oil for baking.
  • Butter: Butter is used in both dough and the frosting.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda acts as a leavening agent.
  • Vinegar: Reaction with baking soda creates the leavening process and makes the dough light and crumbly.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour is the way to go here.
  • Dulce De Leche: Use a store both can of dulce de leche. They come in a jar or can. The alternative would be to use a sweetened condensed milk.
  • Butter: Use sweet, unsalted butter for the frosting.
  • Cream Cheese: Cream cheese gives a little bit of tang and also keeps the buttercream soft. If you don’t have cream cheese, substitute with butter.

Time Required:

  • 10-15 minutes To make the dough and dough balls.
  • 1 minute per each side: Cooking in waffle iron.
  • 15-20 minutes: To make the filling and fill the cookies.

Special Tools to Use:

Recipe Steps at a Glance

  • Making the dough
  • Making the walnut shells 
  • Filling popoque cookie with caramel filling

How to Make Popoques – Step by Step 

Step 1: Making the dough for popoques

Whip the eggs with sugar and oil until airy and light. Gradually add the softened butter, continuing to whip with the mixer. Don’t worry if the batter curdles; it will come together when we add the flour.

Next, add the baking soda and vinegar to help it rise.

Gradually add the flour and mix until the batter comes together and starts pulling away from the bowl.

At this stage, the batter will be very soft and shiny.

Refrigerate for at least an hour or until you’re ready to make the cookies.

Step 1: Making the cookie shells  

Take the dough out of the fridge and begin dividing it into mini balls.

For my mold, the perfect ball size should be around 6-7 grams.

I like to roll the dough into ropes that are about an inch thick and then cut them into roughly one-inch pieces. To be precise, I weigh a couple of dough balls, and once I reach the 7-gram size, I make the rest the same way.

To make cleanup easier, I line my stovetop with a sheet of foil.

Preheat the waffle iron for 3-5 minutes. Open the top flap and place the dough balls into the cavities. Close the lid, press it down, and release it. After 30-40 seconds, flip the waffle iron to the other side and cook for an additional 20-30 seconds.

Remove the cookies from the waffle iron and transfer them to a wire rack. Then, cook the next batch. Use a knife to trim any excess edges.

Popoque ready shells.

Step 2: Making the dulce de leche filling

Ensure the cream cheese and butter are at room temperature.

Start by creaming the butter with the mixer. Add the cream cheese and whip the cream cheese until it’s smooth and fluffy. Gradually add the dulce de leche, making sure each addition is completely incorporated before adding more. Finish by adding the vanilla extract. This mixture is ready to use.

Step 3: Filling popoque cookie with caramel filling

Fill in each of the half-shells will the caramel filling and then match two pieces together and form a whole walnut.  

Best Way to Serve

Walnut cookie on a boar and a Christmas
  • Serve after dinner
  • With coffee or hot chocolate
  • Serve with other cookie and pastry assortments
  • For holiday dinner, parties
  • Present in a box as a gift

Tips and Wisdom from Cafe Osharak

Real walnut and walnut cookie.
  • The dough is quite buttery, so it’s essential to chill it before using it in the waffle iron.
  • The waffle iron should be preheated and hot before use.
  • Different walnut-shaped waffle irons have varying capacities. Test a few dough balls to find the right size. In my waffle iron, each half shell is made from a 6-7 gram dough ball. If the dough size is too large, it will overflow; if it’s too small, the shell won’t form completely. You can trim any irregular rims after baking.
  • When putting the two filled shells together, try keeping them leveled so the shells won’t fall apart. Once frosting hardens they will bind to the shells.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you freeze the cookies?

Absolutely. They freeze really well with or without the filling. Place them in a freezer proof container with lid. You can store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost the pre-made cookies in the refrigerator and serve them either cold or at room temperature.

What are Popoque, Oreshki cookies filled with?

The traditional filling is double-cooked sweetened condensed milk whipped with butter. In my recipe, I substitute the butter with cream cheese, which has a little bit of tang and smoother texture. To double-cook the sweetened condensed milk, I pour it into a canning glass jar and cook it in boiling water. I have also done it in a slow cooker filled with water and let it cook for several hours.
As an alternative, you can use dulce de leche, chocolate ganache, jam, and even ice cream as a filling. Just keep the ice cream walnut cookies in the freezer and you will have Ice Cream sandwiches. The sky’s the limit.

Can you make dulce de leche at home?

Make dulce de leche at home using sweetened condensed milk in two simple ways. First, pour the condensed milk into an oven-safe glass container and bake it in a 300°F (150°C) oven for about an hour. Stir occasionally for even consistency. Alternatively, use a slow cooker by pouring the condensed milk into a Mason jar, sealing it, and placing it in the slow cooker. Fill the cooker with hot water, then set it on high for 3-4 hours until the milk thickens and attains a delightful caramel color.

More Recipes to Try From Cafe Osharak

If you try out this recipe, I would love to hear from you. Let me know if you find it delicious and straightforward to prepare. I am here to answer any questions and provide any suggestions. Also, be sure to explore other recipes from Cafe Osharak, as I’m sure you’ll love them too!

Popoque – Walnut Waffle Cookies

Golden and crispy on the outside, these walnut-shell cookies (called "Popoque" in Armenian and "Oreshki" in Russian) are brimming with luscious cream frosting. These bite-sized treasures are perfect for any occasion and are beloved by kids and adults. They can be an ideal gift for this holiday season.
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Oreshki with a coffee.
Prep Time:30 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes
Chilling Time:30 minutes

Equipment

  • Walnut cookie press
Course
Dessert
Cuisine
Armenian

Ingredients

Cookie Dough

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 150 gram butter room temperature
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 cup flour

Caramel filling

  • 200 gram cream cheese
  • 100 gram butter
  • 300 gram dulce de leche

Instructions

Cooking the sweet condensed milk

  • Open the can of condensed milk and place in a canning jar. Submerge it in boiling water and cook it until it changes color to light brown. It will take an hour. Alternatively, you can use the slow cooker and cook on high until condensed milk thicken and turns caramel color.
  • *Skip this step if using dulce de leche.

Making the Dough

  • Beat the eggs with an electric mixer; gradually add the oil and sugar.
    2 eggs, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 2 tablespoon sugar
  • Mix in the softened butter.
    150 gram butter
  • Once everything is well combined, add the baking soda and immediately pour vinegar on it. (It will bubble up.)
    1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Slowly incorporate the flour and continue mixing the batter with an electric mixer.
    2 cup flour
  • You should have very soft and smooth dough. Wrap the dough in saran wrap and fridge it for at least one hour.
  • Preheat the mold on the stovetop (on both sides.) While the mold is preheating make the dough balls. They should be about 1-teaspoon each (6-7 g each). Once the iron molds gets hot, place ready dough balls into mold indentations and press them down.
  • Hold on the handles for 5-10 seconds, until you feel gentle resistance. Let the cookies bake for a minute and turn the iron mold to the other side for another 30 seconds.
  • Un-mold the cookies on the wire rack.

Making the Caramel

  • Whip the butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.
  • Add the dulce de leche one tablespoon at a time.
  • Keep beating until creamy and smooth
  • Add the vanilla extract

Making the Walnuts 

  • Fill each walnut half with the caramel cream and put the halves together.

Notes

As an alternative, I used chocolate ganache, and even ice cream as a filling. Just keep the ice cream walnut cookies in the freezer and you will have Ice Cream cookies.

Nutrition

Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 185mg | Potassium: 32mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg
Servings: 40 cookie
Calories: 109kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @osharak.cafe or tag #osharak.cafe!

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made the eggplant meatballs and they were fabulous!
    As good as regular meatballs if not better.
    What a surprise for some of my vegetarian family.
    Also the pictures of your recipes are so beautiful.
    Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    OMG!
    These were so good, so novel, people were astounded at my my Gourmet club dinner – they were a huge hit…
    Besides that they really taste so good..people were wondering if they were real walnuts.
    Thank you Cafe Osharak for your recipes.

5 from 4 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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