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How to Make Authentic Polish Kolaczki

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!

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Recipe Ingredients

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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Double Fudge Brownies

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: 15 mins   Cook time: 30-40 mins
Total time: 55 mins  Servings: 16 brownies

Ingredients

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp instant coffee diluted with 1 tsp of hot water (or 1 tsp of coffee extract)

3 eggs

1 yolk

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

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Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 9 x 9 inch square pan. Set aside when done.

  2. Place the butter in a heat-proof bowl and microwave until butter is completely melted.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder together.

  6. 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!

  7. Spoon the batter into the 9 x 9 pan. Spreading the batter evenly. Sprinkle the rest of the semi-sweet chocolate chips on top.

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  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Cut the brownies into squares with warm knife and serve.

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Fenway Serving Tip
: Drizzle with chocolate syrup, a dollop of whipped cream and lightly sprinkle with cocoa powered for an impressive presentation.

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One-Word Resolution for 2018

Happy 2018!

Are you ready for a new year? I’ve never been big on New Years resolutions. Instead, I pick an action word that will encompass what I want my year to be. I aim for it. No promises. No expectations. No insurmountable hurdles. Just living my life with that word in mind.
This year I pick “EXPLORE”. I want to explore possibility, explore my surroundings, explore the unknown, explore my inner self. It’s the year of “40” for me. It’s a big one!
If you could pick a word to live by in 2018, what would it be?

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Warm & Cozy Throw Blankets under $50

Well, here in Wisconsin it definitely feels like late Fall (if not Winter). It’s November! How in the heck did that happen? The air is crisp, the leaves are gone and every once in a while you catch a flurry or two. I’m not quite ready for knee-deep snow, but a lazy day snuggled up on the sofa – sure, why not! The best days are curled up with your favorite, warmest throw blankets. In the market for a  throw blanket? Well, I have you covered! (Yes, pun totally intended! LOL) So curl up with your laptop or tablet and check out these comfy picks!

1. Knitted Throw Blanket with Sherpa – $28.99

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2. Cable Knit Cotton Gray Throw Blanket – $29.99

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Source: Amazon/LONGHUI

3. Zuri Oversized Faux Fur Throw – $31.44

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Source: Amazon/Madison Park

4. Acrylic Chenille Pompoms Fringe Throw Blanket – $42.99

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Source: Amazon/ZHIMIAN

5. Plaid Design Throw Blanket – $39.99

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Source: Amazon/fenncostyles.com

6. Decorative Fringe Lightweight Throw Blanket – $25.88

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7. Lightweight Polyester Blanket – $40.99

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Source: Amazon/spencer & whitney

8. Faux Fur Dusty Rose Pink Soft Throw Blanket – $49.29

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Source: Amazon/Tache Home Fashion

9. Soft Lap Plaid Throw Blanket – $25.99

 

 

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Source: Amazon/LALIFIT

Have a green thumb or loving gardening?

Check out my favorite Plant Lover Must-Haves

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Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

With Halloween fast approaching, I thought it would be fun to rerun one of my first blog posts. My recipe for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds. It’s one of my family’s favorite recipes and a tradtion that we partake in every year. Enjoy! ~M

Original Run Date: October 30, 2016

It is Halloween weekend! Where did October go? One of our favorite family Halloween traditions is roasting pumpkin seeds. It’s the perfect treat after spending hours gutting, carving and crafting the perfect jack o lantern face.

Here is a quick recipe to roast the perfect pumpkin seeds. My family likes them plainly salted but the seasoning choices are endless! Enjoy and have a safe and spooky Halloween! 🎃👻👹

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Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Rinse pumpkin seeds off in a colander

It’s okay to leave some strings and pulp on the seeds (it adds flavor) clean off any chunks.
Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the 2 Tbs of melted butter, vegetable oil or olive oil.

Pour and spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet.

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Sprinkle on the seasonings of your choice. Try: Salt, Garlic Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper (for a little heat), Cajun Seasoning, or Seasoning Salt. (We prefer regular salt and oilve oil)
Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.

Store leftover seeds in an air tight container.

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