Growing up in the Chicago area we had a lot of friends with Polish traditions. I always heard there are more people of Polish descent in the Chicago area than in Warsaw, Poland. So many of our holidays were punctuated by these delightful Polish Christmas cookies; Kolaczki. This recipe came from one of our family’s friends and Mom made these every Christmas for our family as well as for gifts.
Recently I was introduced to another type of Kolache, a Czeck pastry more like a fruit filled danish and/or savory filled hot pocket with a tender pastry about the size of a filled doughnut. Delicious but not the Christmas cookie of my childhood. I decided to do some research and found there are almost as many spellings for Kolaczki as there are countries that make them. No matter how you spell it, a Kolaczki or Polish Christmas cookie is delicious!
Makes about 100 cookies
- 1 pound butter (2 cups or 4 sticks)
- 1 pound (2 – 8ounce pkgs) cream cheese
- 4 cups flour
- Pastry filling; apricot, prune, poppy seed, raspberry, cherry, etc.
- Confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
- Cream butter and cream cheese until fully incorporated scraping bowl at least once.
- Gradually add flour mixing only enough to blend. Dough will be soft.
- Gather the dough into a single ball and cut into quarters. Wrap each quarter in plastic wrap and keep in refrigerator until ready to use.
- On floured surface, using one ball at a time, roll dough about 1/4 inch thick.
- Cut into 3 inch squares.
- Transfer squares to parchment lined baking sheets and place 1/2 teaspoon filling on center of dough square.
- Fold opposite corners together to meet in the center and press together tightly.
- DO NOT Overfill these cookies. Too much filling will run out during baking and be a clean-up problem not to mention the cookies will look messy.
- Bake in preheated 375F oven for 10 – 12 minutes or until light brown.
- Cool on wire rack
- Sprinkle lightly with confectioner’s sugar before serving.
- Store in airtight container at room temperature and low humidity for up to 2 weeks.