To say that I’m a Polish-American to the core, would be an understatement. Growing up as a first-generation American, my parents and grandparents instilled in me a great love of family, an immense pride in our Polish heritage and a passion for it’s deeply-rooted food (or at least to indulge in it!).
My great-grandmother and grandmother were always in the kitchen making meals from scratch, filling the house with delectable smells of soups, stews and baked goods. One of my favorite childhood memories was selecting my favorite cookies off an assorted cookie platter. Grandma always had food on-hand for that unexpected guest and you never dare leave without having at least a bite to eat.
So I say it’s fitting to share with you one of my favorite Polish cookie recipes, just like my Grandma use to make. Simple in taste and in effort, the Kolaczki is especially good along a side of black tea or coffee. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do, Na Zdrowie!
8 ounces (1 block) of cream cheese (at room temperature)
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with butter until light and fluffy. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, and mix well. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Heat oven to 350 F. Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick on a silicone mat or a surface that has been dusted with equal parts confectioners’ and granulated sugars (not flour), because the granulated sugar will act as ball bearings and help keep the dough from sticking.
Cut into 2-inch squares. Place 1/2 to 1 teaspoon fruit or cheese filling on center of each square. Overlap opposite corners of dough to the center over filling, pressing dough together lightly. Alternatively, brush a tiny bit of beaten egg white on one point and press the opposite point on it.
Bake for 15 minutes (longer if baking frozen) or when corners start to brown. Cool completely and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Note: Kolaczki tend to get soggy after several days if not stored properly. Store them in an air-tight container without the confectioners’ sugar. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
Tips on freezing
If you find yourself with leftover fillings, they can be frozen in a zip-top bag or another container with little loss in flavor or consistency. Just defrost them when you’re ready to use them. Pour off any accumulated moisture on the surface.
As for the kołaczki themselves, fill them and freeze on a parchment-lined sheet pan. When completely frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe container separated by sheets of parchment paper. Bake them from frozen. Don’t freeze baked kołaczki. When defrosted, they will be soggy and unpalatable.
Brownie recipes are much like chocolate chip cookie recipes, everyone seems to have their own favorite recipe and thinks theirs is the best. I get it. There are so many variations and are a standard dessert go-to for many. I personally like my brownies chewy and dense. (Oh, and super chocolaty *duh*) After doing some “brownie research” for this post, I concocted a Brownie recipe that is chocolaty, chewy and even had a secret ingredient to elevate the chocolate flavor —INSTANT COFFEE! I made a batch of these brownies this weekend. My boys were licking their plates to get every last crumb and morsel. A true sign of a recipe gone right!
P.S. The coffee is totally optional, but must say it does give it a great boost!
Prep time:15mins Cook time: 30-40mins
Total time:55mins Servings: 16 brownies
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1tsp instant coffee diluted with 1 tsp of hot water (or 1 tsp of coffee extract)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 9 x 9 inch square pan. Set aside when done.
Place the butter in a heat-proof bowl and microwave until butter is completely melted.
Add the brown sugar, white sugar and salt while the butter is still warm. Mix to combine the butter and sugars together until you have a smooth consistancy.
Add the vanilla, shot of instant coffee (or coffee extract) , eggs and egg yolk to the butter and sugar mixture. Whisk in the eggs until they have been incorporated into the butter sugar mix. With a hand mixer, approx. 2 minutes until the mixture is well combined and is light in color.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder together.
Add the dry mixture of flour and cocoa powder into the wet ingredients and mix it in until just combined. Add about ⅔ of the semi-sweet chocolate chips halfway through the mixing in of the flour. The goal is to make sure the batter is not over-mixed when the flour is being incorporated. Important: Do not over mix!
Spoon the batter into the 9 x 9 pan. Spreading the batter evenly. Sprinkle the rest of the semi-sweet chocolate chips on top.
Bake for 30 – 40 minutes. If you like your brownies fudge-like, stick closer to 30 minutes. If you like you brownies a little more well done, 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let it cool down to room temperature. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. Brownies that are chilled are easier to cut.
Cut the brownies into squares with warm knife and serve.
Fenway Serving Tip: Drizzle with chocolate syrup, a dollop of whipped cream and lightly sprinkle with cocoa powered for an impressive presentation.
Long summer days and outdoor entertaining go hand-in-hand. After all, we might as well celebrate the extra hours of sunlight by kicking back with a few of our favorite people while enjoying a yummy cocktail and some delicious food.
I gathered a list of some of my favorite outdoor entertaining basics available this season. Take the stress out of planning your Summer soiree and keep these items on-hand for that impromptu backyard grill out or cocktail around the fire-pit.
Serve and entertain your family or guests with the Mauna 12 pc. Melamine dinnerware set. The break-resistant melamine is perfect for families with kids! The crackle finish gives you that designer look. – set contains four each of: 11″ dinner plate, 9″ dessert plate and 7.5″ bowl – dishwasher safe – yellow finish
Bring some nostalgic charm to outdoor concerts, firework displays or beach outings with our retro-styled white picnic cooler. Made of durable steel, the insulated cooler keeps drinks and snacks fresh and cool. This retro design even incorporates a handy bottle opener!
Serve your favorite lemonade, ice tea or sangria in this versatile acrylic drink dispenser. Featuring a large-capacity 3-gallon beverage dispenser, it’s great for casual cocktail parties, family reunions and outdoor occasions. Clear acrylic container with Mason jar shape is topped with a cork lid and gets a lift from its metal and wood handle. Low-lying spout ensures easy and long-lasting pouring.
Keep your guest entertained with some fun games! These giant dices are perfect for guests of all ages. They come in an easy carrying case so you can take them to any picnic, tailgate and backyard or pool activity. These wooden dices are hand-crafted out of soft pine wood, with the pips heat branded into the wood, so they will be marked for the life of the dice.
There is nothing better than a “made-from-scratch” Sunday dessert. Pound cake is not only an easy recipe, but with slight ingredient varations, can be extremely versitle! Pound cake refers to how the cake was traditionally made. The recipe usually called for a pound of each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. Honestly, that’s a lot of cake —so I split the recipe in half. Here is my version on a vanilla 1/2 pound cake. Just as yummy on a much smaller scale. Enjoy!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan; set aside.
Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla and salt. With mixer on low, gradually add flour, beating just until combined (do not overmix).
Bake about 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. (tent loaf with aluminum foil if it’s browning too quickly). Let cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack, and turn upright to cool completely.
Expert Serving Tip: Finish with freshly cut fruit ( I love strawberries) and a vanilla bean soy whipped topping.
Have a sweet tooth?
I’m a dessert lover myself. Here are a couple other dessert recipes from my blog I recommend:
It’s been a while since I’ve shared one of my favorite recipes. This banana cake with cream cheese frosting recipes is one of my all-time favorites, but I must warn you, it’s definitely not light on the calories! Although, when you are enjoying such a decadent dessert, do calories really count? 🙂 Enjoy!
Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3 medium)
Frosting (see below)
Cream Cheese Frosting:
½ cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 ¾ cups powdered sugar (sift if desired)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 15-by-10-inch sheet pan/cake pan.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar, then add eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Hand stir in mashed bananas.
Spread into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cake cool.
Prepare cream cheese frosting.
Spread on top of cake and store in refrigerator. Cake can be frozen.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Gradually beat in enough powdered sugar to achieve desired consistency.