5 Ingredient Kolacky Cookies

These tender, flaky kolacky cookies are my weakness. They go by a few names depending on where someone is from (kolaczki, kolachy, kolacky) and can be found throughout Eastern Europe. There is debate about whether they are originally Czech or Polish. Among cuisines, you will find some variation including a yeast dough version topped with fruit filling.

Kolacky are my total downfall when trying to eat something in moderation. I could eat them by the handful and am often sampling from the first trays cooling while the next trays bake. These buttery, soft, rich cookies are definitely at the top of my “Favorite Cookie” list .

A perennial favorite

A classic staple often found on cookie trays during the Christmas season, not only in the Coal Region but beyond, these are so simple to make you don’t have to wait for December to roll around. The recipe can be easily doubled (which I recommend, because these fly off the plate).

Customization friendly

This recipe calls for small dollops of jam to be deposited in the center of the dough square. The flavor is entirely up to you; use a good quality jam, make your own favorite filling (see recipe card for several variations) or use Baker’s/Solo fillings in the can/jars like prune, poppy seed, raspberry, almond/nut or cherry just to give you some ideas.

Tips for success

  • Chill the dough thoroughly. I like to make the dough a day or two in advance of baking and store it in the refrigerator.
  • Sprinkle your work surface generously with confectioner’s sugar (or use granulated sugar which will give the cookies a bit of “crunch” on the surface once baked) rather than flour. This helps keep the dough tender by avoiding addition of extra flour when working the dough.
  • Line your baking sheets with parchment paper (I like these from Reynolds that are pre-cut, marked for easy cookie placement, and re-usable up to three times.) or silicone baking mats for ease in handling any filling that cooks out of the cookies.
  • Allow the cookies to cook on the baking pan for 2 minutes before removing to cooling racks to finish cooling. My favorite set of racks is this set of stack-able cooling racks from Wilton that stores easily and consists of three separate racks that stack vertically saving tons of counter space when in use.
  • HINT: If you just cannot get the pinched dough to stay closed on the top of the cookie and the cookies opening up during baking is driving you crazy, simply use a 1 1/2 or 2 inch round cookie cutter to cut circles of dough and spread the dollop of jam on the top before baking, leaving a little margin with no jam/filling around the very outside edges. It’s the taste that matters, not appearances!

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5 Ingredient Kolacky Cookies

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: DessertsCuisine: Eastern European, Coal RegionDifficulty: Easy

Filling hugged by a rich, buttery, flaky dough makes these cookies a perennial favorite. Recipe is easily doubled or tripled with no adjustments to ingredients necessary. Filling recipes included make more than needed for one batch of this dough.

INGREDIENTS

  • Cookie Dough
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened (double recipe: 6 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened (double recipe: 1 cup)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (double recipe: 2 cups)

  • 1/2 cup fruit jam, preserves, or filling the flavor of your choice (double recipe: 1 cup)

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar, for decoration plus extra for dusting work space (double recipe: 2/3 cup)

  • FILLINGS
  • Walnut Filling
  • 3/4 pound walnuts, chopped very fine

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • scalded milk, enough to bind and make spreadable paste

  • Lekvar (Prune) Filling
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted prunes, tightly packed

  • 2/3 cup water

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

  • Apricot or Peach Filling
  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruit

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar depending on fruit used

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 teaspoon almond extract

  • Sweet Cream Cheese Filling
  • 16 ounces cream cheese (2 8-ounce blocks)

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 beaten egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Pineapple Filling
  • 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, un-drained

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 pinch salt

  • Chocolate-Cherry Filling
  • 1 cup drained canned sweet cherries

  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped fine

  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped fine

  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

  • Poppyseed
  • 2 cups scalded whole milk

  • 1 pound ground poppy seed

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated suga

Directions

  • Cookie Dough
  • Soften salted butter and cream cheese to room temperature. In mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese together, add in flour gradually and mix with wooden spoon into smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 2 hours or overnight.
  • Roll out to a rectangle 1/8 inch thick on board generously dusted with powdered sugar.
  • Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares, place about 1/2 teaspoon filling of your choice directly in center of square and fold two opposite edges or sides of dough together on the top, press lightly to seal points together. Don’t over-fill or the filling will cook out.
  • Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment or silicone baking liners. Bake 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned,
  • Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
  • Walnut Filling
  • Grind nuts with 2 Tablespoons sugar in food processor until very fine (helps keep nuts from turning into paste while processing). Place in small bowl and mix in remaining sugar. Scald milk then add slowly just enough to make a spreadable paste. Cool or store in refrigerator until using.
  • Lekvar (Prune) Filling
  • Simmer all ingredients except brown sugar in covered saucepan for 25-30 minutes until very soft and most of the water is evaporated Uncover last few minutes if necessary to remove water. Remove from heat and mash. Stir in brown sugar. Cool or store in refrigerator until using.
  • Apricot or Peach Filling
  • Place fruit in medium saucepan and cover with water to about an inch over the fruit. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer for 35- 45 minutes until very tender. Remove from heat and mash until fruit is smooth. Add cinnamon and vanilla. Add sugar from 1/2 to 3/4 cup to taste. Cool or store in refrigerator until using.
  • Sweet Cream Cheese Filling
  • Allow cream cheese to soften to room temperature. Mix all ingredients until well blended. Store in refrigerator until using.
  • Pineapple Filling
  • Combine ingredients in saucepan, Cook over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat, cool or store in refrigerator until using.
  • Chocolate Cherry Filling
  • Finely chop drained cherries in food processor. Place in a bowl and add remaining ingredients, blend well. Store in refrigerator until using.
  • Poppy Seed Filling
  • Mix ingredients together and set aside till milk is absorbed and mixture is cooled. Store in refrigerator until using.

Notes

  • Don’t over fill the cookies or the filling will cook out.
  • If you find the cookies break apart on top while baking, there is no need to fold them. Simply use a 2 inch cookie cutter to cut circles of dough, top with the filling, spread out allowing a margin at the very edges and bake. Sprinkle when cooled with powdered sugar. Store in layers with wax paper in between.
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