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.
It’s the Christmas season and what better way to celebrate than to give! I created a FREE printable to share with you featuring one of my favorite quotes from Peanuts creator, Charles M. Schulz. “All you need is love, but a little hot chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Isn’t that the truth?
This season is full of family, love and food (even a mug of decedent hot chocolate). What better way to feel like a kid again at Christmas than to sit down with a mug of hot chocolate topped with EXTRA marshmallows!
So print, decor and enjoy! My gift to you, this wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas! ~M
We are down to the wire and Christmas is almost here! I don’t know why, but I always wait until the last minute to gift wrap. Here are a couple of quick gift wrapping ideas that only use a handful of items, and that will make you look like a gift wrapping pro!
Note: Twine, brown butcher paper, and ribbon. I always keep these staples on hand. They are neutral and versatile for any season or holiday and can also be used in many other crafts.
The Christmas Tree
Take a roll of twine, starting at the center of one side, wrap it length wise around the package. Wind the twine around the package about 8-10 keeping the side closest to you keep at the center working in an array across the package creating a Christmas tree shape. When you are done wrapping the twine tie it off with a complimentary ribbon. This will be your “tree-topper”!
The Bow Tie
You can easily adjust the “Christmas Tree” into a “Bow Tie”. Slide the ribbon from the top of the tree to the middle of the package. Straighten out the twine and evenly distribute it across the sides of the package. Finish it off with an adornment:an evergreen sprig, a twig of holly, a trinket or ornament.
Take the “Bow Tie” and turn it into “The Band”. Remove the ribbon and is holding the center together and mix up the order of the twine strands. Tuck a note card or greeting into the twine and fasten it with a festive clothespin. Voila! Adorable and practical.
Hope this helps you get all of that holiday wrapping done.
Enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas!
I always try to take time out of my busy holiday schedule to do something fun with my boys. There is something so magical about creating something as a family that can be shared during the Christmas season. This year, we decided to make cinnamon and applesauce cutout ornaments. These are super simple to make, great to do with the kids and make your house smell amazing! Here is how to create these adorable and festive ornaments:
1 cup applesauce
1-1 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
toothpick or skewer
sheet of parchment paper
ribbon or twine
Preheat oven to 200° F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, combine the applesauce and cinnamon. It may take a few minutes for the mixture to come together. You want the dough to be able to form a ball without being too sticky. Add additional applesauce or cinnamon if needed to create the right consistency. You can mix the dough by hand, it may just take longer.
Sprinkle a clean surface with cinnamon (like you would with flour while rolling out pie dough). Place the dough on the surface and sprinkle with more cinnamon. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick, sprinkling with more cinnamon to keep from sticking.
Use cookie cutters to cut desired shapes and place on the prepared sheet pan so that they aren’t touching. Use a toothpick or skewer to poke a hole into each ornament (to attach string). Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until rock hard.
Loop a decorative string through the ornament and hang on your tree
Note: DO NOT EAT. These ornaments are not intended for human consumption.