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.
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Recipe Steps at a Glance
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.
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
Tips and Wisdom from Cafe Osharak
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
- Walnut cookie press
- 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
- 200 gram cream cheese
- 100 gram butter
- 300 gram dulce de leche
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.