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)
12 ounces (3 sticks) of butter (room temperature)
3 cups flour (all-purpose)
28 ounces apricot filling (or prune, raspberry, etc.)
A dusting of confectioners’ sugar for garnish
How to make Kolaczki
- 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.