Polish or not, most people have heard this word. Pronounced “kohl-ahtch-key”, Kolacky is a cream cheese based cookie with a crispy outside and, traditionally, a fruity filling. Jam (quite often apricot) and sweet cheese fillings are most popular, but Kolacky cookies are very versatile and can hold chocolate creams, peanut butter, or more creative purees.
Most grocery store bakeries sell this item, but it can be incredibly nostalgic when done right. This dessert truly identifies with old world European foodies and anyone who needs some comfort food. Since childhood, and thanks to my father, kolacky cookies have always been one of my favorites. They really bring me back to family parties and gatherings from my young and innocent days. Warm, flaky and perfectly sweet, this is an excellent pastry.
You will need
Cream Cheese- 8 oz., room temperature
Butter- 8 oz., room temperature, cut into pieces
All-purpose Flour- 9 oz., sifted
Jam- jarred or store bought
You will also need
A mixing stand or large mixing bowl
A hand mixer (if using a large bowl)
A rolling pin
A pairing knife
A small spoon
1. Begin by creaming the room temp. cream cheese in a mixer fitted with a paddle on a medium low speed. Increase the speed to whip the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy- a few minutes.
2. Turn off the mixer and add the room temp. butter in pieces, all at once is fine. Begin mixing at a medium-low speed. Make sure to occasionally scrape the bowl down to make sure the butter and cream cheese come together. Mix again on high so the mixture is light and fluffy.
3. Turn off the mixer once more, and add the sifted flour to the mixer 1/3 at a time, mixing after each addition. When the dough just comes together, remove from the mixer. It’s important not to over mix in this step.
4. Bring the dough together by hand, wrap in plastic, and place in the cooler. The dough will need to relax for about an hour so it is more workable.
5. After at least an hour, roll the dough onto a floured surface to 1/8” inch thickness. To create layers, the dough can be folded a few times and rerolled. This will create beautiful, flaky layers. However, only reroll once, or else the dough will become too tough and will shrink.
6. Cut the dough into as many 2in.X2in. squares as possible with a paring knife and ruler. Spoon a small amount of filling into the center of each square. It is of note to use a very small amount of filling in each square. Fillings expand in the oven and can either ooze or break open the cookie.
7. Bring two diagonally opposite corners together over the filling so the middle is wrapped like a blanket, and the filling shows at each end of the cookie. Seal the ends together with a little warm water.
8. Bake at 375 degrees for approx.. 15 minutes. Look for a golden brown color and a flaky crust.
9. Allow the cookies to cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
*Not all fillings bake well in the oven. Fruit “spreads” generally melt when heated. Jellies and preserves are not always best either (yes, I had to figure this out first-hand). The word “jam” is usually most promising.
Take this new knowledge, and impress your friends and family at your next get-together!