Ari’s Pick: Hungarian Kifli Cookies

Melt-in-your-mouth almond cookies

If you, like me, have a high affection for Mexican wedding cookies or any other powdered sugar-coated, kind of crumbly butter cookie, I’m totally confident that you’re gonna love these Hungarian almond kifli from the Bakehouse. A good number of people who work here have told me that they can’t stop eating them. And if you figure that they could pretty much have their pick of all the amazing things that bakers at the Bakehouse bring out of the ovens every day, that’s really saying something.

overhead view of kifli cookies on a plate

A couple of these tasty little crescent-shaped cookies are an ideal accompaniment to coffee or tea. Each time I taste them I like them even better than the last. Slightly crumbly, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth almond cookies, they’re the kind of cookie I could eat almost every day!

I sent a box to my friend Alex Carbone out in California. Her response was so poetic that I have to share it:

When I opened the package I had a Proustian moment,” she wrote, “wherein for a second I remembered the smell of the Polish cookies my Aunt Helen used to make at Christmas. I drink a lot of tea and sometimes coffee, and I like to just have a little something, not a big guilt inducing something, but just a tasteful, ladylike cookie, and these were so dainty and so crumbly and so not too-sweet. They were a lot like the Spanish Torta de Santiago, which is one of my favorite desserts, but in a crumbly cookie form. And I liked the hit of salt at the end. Yum! The other folks I served them to also loved them, including a guy whose wife is Hungarian. He was wondering where to get them because they tasted just like stuff he’s had in Hungary. A smashing success all around.

I agree completely with Ms. Carbone. The kifli truly are terrific. Ask for a taste next time you’re in the Zingerman’s Bakehouse.


Ari headshot
Ari Weinzweig
Co-Founding Partner at Zingerman's | + posts

In 1982, Ari Weinzweig, along with his partner Paul Saginaw, founded Zingerman’s Delicatessen with a $20,000 bank loan, a Russian History degree from the University of Michigan, 4 years of experience washing dishes, cooking and managing in restaurant kitchens and chutzpah from his hometown of Chicago. They opened the doors with 2 employees and a small selection of specialty foods and exceptional sandwiches.

Today, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is a nationally renowned food icon and the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses has grown to 10 businesses with over 750 employees and over $55 million in annual revenue. Aside from the Delicatessen, these businesses include Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Coffee Company, Creamery, Roadhouse, Mail Order, ZingTrain, Candy Manufactory, Cornman Farms and a Korean restaurant that is scheduled to open in 2016. No two businesses in the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses are alike but they all share the same Vision and Guiding Principles and deliver “The Zingerman’s Experience” with passion and commitment.

Besides being the Co-Founding Partner and being actively engaged in some aspect of the day-to-day operations and governance of nearly every business in the Zingerman’s Community, Ari Weinzweig is also a prolific writer. His most recent publications are the first 4 of his 6 book series Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading Series: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business (Part 1), Being a Better Leader (Part 2), Managing Ourselves (Part 3) and the newly-released Part 4, The Power of Beliefs in Business. Earlier books include the Zingerman’s Guides to Giving Great Service, Better Bacon, Good Eating, Good Olive Oil, Good Vinegar and Good Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Ari regularly travels across the country (and world) on behalf of ZingTrain, teaching organizations and businesses about Zingerman’s approach to business. He is a sought-after Keynote speaker, having delivered keynotes for Inc. 500, Microsoft Expo Spring Conference, Great Game of Business Gathering of Games, Positive Business Conference at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, American Society for Quality (ASQ), and the American Cheese Society. Most recently, Ari and Paul Saginaw were invited to address an audience of 50,000 for the University of Michigan 2015 Spring Commencement.

One of Zingerman’s Guiding Principles is being an active part of the community and in 1988, Zingerman’s was instrumental in the founding of Food Gatherers, a food rescue program that delivers over 5 million pounds of food each year to the hungry residents of Washtenaw county. Every year Zingerman’s donates 10% of its previous years profits to local community organizations and non-profits. Ari has served on the board of The Ark, the longest continuously operating folk music venue in America.

Over the decades, the Zingerman’s founding partners have consistently been the recipients of public recognition from a variety of diverse organizations. In April 1995, Ari and Paul were awarded the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County’s first Humanitarian Award. In 2006, Ari was recognized as one of the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the James Beard Foundation. In 2007, Ari and Paul were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bon Appetit magazine for their work in the food industry. Ari was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Cheese Society in 2014. And Ari’s book, Building a Great Business was on Inc. magazine’s list of Best Books for Business Leaders.

Notwithstanding the awards, being engaged on a daily basis in the work of 10 businesses and 21 partners, writing books on business and in-depth articles on food for the Zingerman’s newsletter, Ari finds time to be a voracious reader. He acquires and reads more books than he can find room for. Ari might soon find himself the owner of the largest collection of Anarchist books in Ann Arbor outside the Labadie collection at the University of Michigan library!

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