Picture this: the sweet smell of freshly baked cookies wafting through the air, a warm oven radiating gentle heat as batches of kolacky cookies are pulled from the oven. As someone who loves to bake, I’ve learned that few things are as satisfying as creating handmade treats that bring joy and comfort to others.
Today, I want to share with you my recipe for Kolacky (or Kolatki) cookies. These delightful round pastry cookies are a beloved staple in both Polish and Ukrainian holiday traditions. They’re usually made with cream cheese dough and filled with sweet flavors like fruit jam or poppy seed paste.
As a Ukrainian-American, I have many fond memories of making these cookies with my family during the Christmas season. For me, baking these treats is a way to connect with my roots while also creating new memories.
But beyond the cultural significance of these cookies, they’re downright delicious. The pillowy dough melts in your mouth, while the jam or poppy seed filling adds a burst of flavor. Plus, they’re relatively easy to make and can be customized based on whatever fillings you prefer.
So let’s get baking! In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make homemade Kolacky cookies that will impress everyone who tries them. Whether you’re an experienced baker or a beginner looking to try something new, this recipe is sure to please.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Looking for a cookie recipe that will take your taste buds on a nostalgic journey with a modern twist? You’ll love the Kolatki/Kolacki Ukrainian Christmas Cookies via Czechoslovakia recipe. Imagine cream cheese dough mingled with butter, flour, and sugar until they become light, fluffy, and oh-so-flaky. A surprise poppy seed filling seasoned with lemon zest is tucked inside each kolacky cookie. Top it off with confectioners’ sugar, and you’re in cookie heaven!
But why you’ll love this recipe goes beyond the taste alone. These kolacky cookies aren’t just any Christmas cookies; they’re authentic Ukrainian Christmas cookies. Baking them is about more than just making tasty treats; it’s an act of preserving cultural traditions too.
There’s something magical about being a part of a significant event by sharing its cuisine. The aroma wafting through your kitchen, the crackling sound as you take them from the oven, the touch of sweet confectioners’ sugar on your fingers, and the satisfying crunch as you venture into its warm filling – these moments are what make baking such a delightful experience.
So whether you’re looking to reconnect with old memories or create new ones with family and friends around the holidays, these Kolatki/Kolacki Ukrainian Christmas cookies are sure to be a crowd-pleaser that both embodies tradition and provides a modern twist on an old favorite.
Below are the list of ingredients that you will need to make the Kolatki/Kolacki (Ukrainian Christmas Cookies via Czechoslovakia) that your family and friends will surely love.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 lemon, zest of
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled
4 ounces cream cheese, chilled
3/4 cup poppy seed filling
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
For the poppy seed filling:
1 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup milk
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons rum (optional)
Confectioner’s sugar (optional)
Note: Chilled butter and cream cheese are critical to creating a tender and flaky dough. Make sure to chill both ingredients for at least an hour or overnight. You can substitute with other brands of cream cheese.
Make sure to use ground poppy seeds because they produce a smoother filling.
The Recipe How-To
Now that you have your ingredients ready, let’s dive into the fun part: making the cookies themselves!
Step 1: Preparing the Dough
Start by combining 8oz of cream cheese, 1 cup of unsalted butter (2 sticks), and 2 cups of flour in your mixing bowl. Beat until they form a smooth dough.
Step 2: Rolling the Dough
Divide the dough into thirds and roll each section out to about 1/8 inch thickness. Wiping a bit of flour under the dough as it is rolled out will prevent it from sticking to the surface underneath.
Step 3: Cutting the Dough
Use a biscuit cutter or other appropriate cutting tool to create small circles in the rolled dough.
Step 4: Adding Filling
Add your filling of choice, using about half a tablespoon of filling per cookie.
- For classic Ukrainian Christmas cookies, use poppy seed filling.
- For a different twist, try using your favorite jelly or jam. Also consider making fruit fillings by sautéing fresh fruit with sugar, lemon juice, and zest until soft and then pureeing. Add cornstarch as needed to thicken.
- Or, make walnut filling my simply mixing together poppy seeds, walnuts, one beaten egg, 2 tablespoons of honey, and adding rum if consistency seems soft like porridge.
Place your chosen fillings on top of half of your dough circles.
Step 5: Sealing the Cookies
Cover each filly cookie with another circle of dough, pressing firmly around the edges to seal it shut.
Step 6: Baking
Place your filled and sealed kolacki/ kolatki onto an ungreased cookie sheet with enough spacing between each one to allow for expansion during baking. Preheat your oven for five minutes prior to inserting your baking sheets. When finished placing all kolacki onto the sheets place in oven and set timer for approximately ten-twelve minutes while keeping a watchful eye on them! Remove baking sheets when cookies are lightly golden-fairly white and let them cool down for approximately fifteen minutes or while hot sprinkle powdered/brown sugar on top individiual kolacki/kolatki cookies!
Enjoy hot or store in an air-tight container so you can enjoy them later!
Substitutions and Variations
Are you looking for ways to tweak the classic Kolatki/Kolacki recipe and create a new flavor profile? Fear not my bakeloving friend, as there are several versatile substitutions and variations that you can try.
To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute the regular flour with almond flour or gluten-free baking flour. You can also swap butter for vegan butter and use a non-dairy cream cheese to create vegan Kolacky cookies.
For those who wish for an extra zing of lemony tartness, you can add some lemon extract to the dough along with the zest. If citrus isn’t your cup of tea, try vanilla extract or almond extract instead.
While the traditional Kolatki calls for poppy seed filling, why not experiment with other fillings such as apricot preserves or cherry jam? You may also mix things up by using chopped nuts like pecans, almonds or walnuts instead of poppy seeds.
For an added sweetness, stir in some chocolate chips or drizzle melted chocolate on top of your Kolacky cookies before serving. Or take it to another level by making caramel sauce on the side to dunk these little pastry wonders.
So get creative and enjoy these Polish filled cookies in different variations. Trust me; once you start baking them, you will keep coming up with new ideas and never get tired of trying out different combinations.
Serving and Pairing
Now that you’ve baked these delicious Kolatki/Kolacki Ukrainian Christmas Cookies via Czechoslovakia, it’s time to serve them up and pair them with your favorite beverage or dessert.
These cookies are perfect for any occasion really, especially during the holiday season. They are delicate in texture, slightly sweet and have a flaky outside crust with a soft cream cheese filling. However, one of the best ways to enjoy these cookies is by serving them up with a hot cup of tea or coffee following a savory meal.
If you’d like to get more creative with pairing, you can serve these cookies alongside other traditional Polish and Ukrainian filled cookies like Kolaczki. Their sweet and nutty flavor also makes them perfect for topping on ice cream or as a rich and playful twist in your favorite sundae.
Remember to sprinkle over some confectioners’ sugar for an extra touch of sweetness before serving!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
As with most cookie recipes, it’s always a good idea to make them ahead of time, especially when it comes to the busy holiday season. Luckily, Kolatki/Kolacki are particularly well-suited for making ahead of time.
To prepare Kolatki/Kolacki in advance, you can freeze the pre-cut cookie dough on the baking sheet. Once the cookies are firm enough, you can then transfer them into an airtight container or freezer bags.
These delicious treats can be stored either at room temperature or in the fridge for up to a week. If stored properly, they will retain their texture and flavor. To reheat, simply let them come back to room temperature before serving.
When freezing Kolatki/Kolacki made with poppy seed filling, it’s important to note that the filling might harden when frozen. However, this should not be a problem since it would soften back up once thawed out.
Regardless of whether you choose to make these cookies ahead of time or not, storing and reheating them is incredibly simple. Just make sure they are kept in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap to keep them fresh and moist. And if you’re feeling particularly fancy, sprinkle some confectioners’ sugar over them just before serving.
Tips for Perfect Results
Now that you have the recipe and ingredients to make these delectable Kolatki/Kolacki cookies, let me share some tips to ensure your cookies come out scrumptious every time.
Firstly, be sure to chill the cream cheese dough before rolling it out. The dough can quickly become too soft if worked for too long or if kept in a warm environment. This results in sticking when using cookie cutters or when filling the cookies with poppy seed fillings.
To avoid overcrowding the cookie sheet, you can bake in batches. If the cookies are too close together, they will stick and merge while baking. Also, ensure the baking sheets are not greased as this will cause the cookies to spread and lose their shape.
For added flavor, try adding lemon zest to your dough mixture. This gives a zesty twist to the taste of the traditional Ukrainian Christmas cookies. Similarly, for variations, experiment with different fillings such as apricot jam, raspberry jam or prune filling.
Additionally, remember to sift confectioners’ sugar over the top of each cookie after they have cooled down completely. It adds an extra touch of sweetness and looks visually appealing.
Before filling them up with poppy seeds and walnut filling, mix them thoroughly with honey and rum till they have a soft porridge-like consistency- this might seem like an obvious thing to do but is often overlooked while making these delicious treats.
Lastly, if you plan on storing them for a short period in an airtight container, try placing them in layers separated by wax paper. You can also freeze your cookies for future enjoyment by wrapping each layer of kolacky in waxed paper, placed in freezer bags and defrosting at room temperature overnight before serving.
With these helpful tips, you are sure to create mouth-watering Kolatki/Kolacki that everyone will love.
Before wrapping up, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about these delicious Kolatki/Kolacki cookies. I know that some of you may be curious about the substitutions, storing method, and more. So let’s dive right into the FAQ section and solve your queries to help make your baking experience as smooth as butter.
Where did kolaczki originate from?
Cream cheese dough kolacki, a type of cookie with central European origins, are widely popular today.
Where do kolacky cookies come from?
Kolaches, a kind of pastry originating from Eastern Europe, are made of a delicious yeast dough and filled with either fruit or cheese. While the traditional flavors are apricot, poppy seed, prune, and farmer’s cheese, various other flavors are also available.
What does kolache mean in polish?
Kolach, a delightful pastry, is made up of fluffy dough that encloses a filling of fruit. The name kolach comes from the Czech and Slovak term “koláče,” which means cake or pie, and the plural term is “koláčky.”
Can you freeze kolacky?
Kolacky cookies with fruit centers can be frozen, but it’s recommended that you freeze them individually on a baking sheet first. After freezing, transfer them to a storage container with layers of wax or parchment paper between each layer of cookies to keep them fresh for several months.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this Kolatki/Kolacki recipe for anyone who wants to impress their guests with a unique and delicious Ukrainian Christmas cookie. The combination of poppy seed filling and cream cheese dough results in a mouth-watering flavor and texture that is sure to leave your taste buds wanting more.
With the easy-to-follow instructions, substitutions and variations, make-ahead and storing options, and tips for perfect results, this recipe is a must-try for any baker. And remember, with the ability to freeze these cookies, you can enjoy them long after the holiday season has ended.
So why not add some diversity to your cookie recipe collection? Try out this Kolatki/Kolacki (Ukrainian Christmas Cookies via Czechoslovakia) Recipe today and experience the delectable taste of the cookies that have been passed down for generations.
Kolatki/Kolacki (Ukrainian Christmas Cookies via Czechoslovakia) Recipe
- 1 lb butter
- 1 lb cream cheese
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 lemon, zest of
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 cups flour
- apricot filling or poppy seed filling
- 1 egg white
- confectioners' sugar (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream together butter, cream cheese, sugar, egg yolks and lemon zest.
- Stir in flour, creating stiff dough.
- Mold dough into hamburger-size patties and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
- Roll patty out 1/8-1/4 inch thick, preferably on chilled marble or glass cutting board.
- Cut dough into 2 1/2 inch squares.
- Place squares on cookie sheet (ungreased is OK).
- In each square, dab about 1/3 teaspoon pastry filling.
- Fold one corner halfway over pastry so that it points to opposite corner.
- With pastry brush, dab egg white onto folded corner.
- Fold opposite corner onto folded corner.
- Press lightly to fix with egg white.
- Optional: Brush egg white over top of cookie and dust with confectioners' sugar.
- Bake cookies for 15-20 minutes or until edges are slightly brown.
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Steven is a chef by heritage, so it’s no wonder why baking is such a big part of who he is. To share his passion for all things sweet, he created cookiesncrepes.com. It’s the perfect platform to indulge in delicious treats, all with a sprinkle of his signature flare.