Kolachkes are traditional Czech cookies filled with jam, cheese or nuts and dusted with powdered sugar. These kolachkes are popular in Chicago area bakeries and my family's favorite Christmas-time treat!
Everyone gets their cookies baked well before Christmas but me. Oh well, when you're not a big baker, this happens. These kolachkes are a must in my house at Christmastime. Luckily, I've been making these forever and I have them down pat, even with my substandard baking skills.
When I was a kid growing up in Chicago, my dad cooked on weekends and headed out to shop on most Saturday mornings. He often headed to Berwyn and Cicero, and he'd come home with things like Rosen's rye bread, prasky, veal knockwurst, houska and kolachkes. A lot of what he brought home didn't appeal to me, but I loved the kolachkes. They were pastries filled with cheese or apricot, and sprinkled with powdered sugar. I knew he got kolachkes because they were always on a cardboard plate, wrapped in white butcher paper and tied with string.
In the early 90's, in Chicago, I came across a recipe for kolachkes that looked just like the kind my dad would bring home from the bakery. To me, Czech kolachkes are cookie-like, not yeasty and puffy. This recipe yields a cookie-like kolachke, not a puffy one. In fact, the ones I always had were pretty dense cookies. These are a little lighter and flakier, and delicious.
The first time I made these, I made cheese, apricot and strawberry. My dad was so impressed, he couldn't stop eating them, especially the cheese ones. He also said they were the exact kind of Czech kolachke that he liked so much. Huge kudos from my dad.
The dough is butter, cream cheese, flour and cream, and has to chill in the fridge overnight. The fillings are typically fruit or cheese or nut. My house likes cheese and strawberry, with my homemade jam. That's what I made yesterday.
My dad looked forward to these kolachkes every Christmas, and now my kids do the same. They are all worried there won't be any when they get home next week. There will be kolachkes, it wouldn't be Christmas without them. Merry Christmas, Kelly🍴🐦
Here are a few more treats we love around here for the holidays:
- Classic Buckeyes peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate, bet you can't eat just one.
- Peanut Butter Blossoms peanut butter cookies with a chocolate kiss baked in the middle.
- Old-fashioned Gingerbread cake with lemon glaze and served with ginger whipped cream.
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- 4 sticks unsalted butter softened
- 6 ounces cream cheese softened
- 3 cups all-purpose flour sifted
- 6 tablespoons whipping cream
- Confectioners' sugar for rolling and sprinkling
- Jam jelly or preserves of choice
- Cream cheese filling optional, recipe follows
- Nut filling optional, recipe follows
- Beat butter and cream cheese in bowl of electric mixer until light. Beat in the flour and cream, alternating the flour and cream, until well mixed. The dough will be very soft. Divide into 4 portions and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350º and have ungreased cookie sheets ready.
- Sprinkle work surface and rolling pin with powdered sugar. Roll out dough portion to about ¼-inch thickness. The dough is really hard to roll at first but then gets easier. If it tears a little in spots, just pinch it back together. Use a small round cutter (2-inch diameter) to cut out cookies and place on baking sheet, about 1 - 2 inches apart.
- Make a small depression in the center of each with your fingertip. I used, and prefer, the bottom of a shot glass which I dipped in powdered sugar so it wouldn't stick. Works better for me than with my fingertip. Fill cookies scantily with jam, jelly, preserves, cheese or nut filling. If you use too much filling, it will run out onto the baking sheet.
- Bake until bottoms are lightly browned, about 12 - 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar while still warm.
Monday 12th of December 2022
Very yummy, just wondering if you have any ideas to use up leftover cream cheese filling?
Thursday 28th of April 2022
I made these for Heritage Day at my grandsons school. His classmates are 3rd graders so I chose to use chocolate chips for the filling. They were wonderful. Thank you!
Sunday 26th of December 2021
These are the kolaches I grew up with too. Not folded but round. I made some this year but had a hard time finding Solo filling. Thanks for the recipe and memories.
Thursday 10th of March 2022
@Kelly, My grandmother was a Yiddish Berwyn resident who learned this recipe from her Bohemian sister-in law and baked a batch whenever the mood moved her. But she always made cookies thinner and sealed the jam into the cookie with a second cookie "lid" pinched around the edge. Has anyone ever heard of this version of Kolatchie? She also filled some with poppy seed filling which is something I can't find in my attempt to duplicate her culinary genius. She has resided in Chapel Hill since 1997 and is sorely missed.
Wednesday 12th of January 2022
You are so welcome, Kari. They are the only type of kolachke I know!
Sunday 5th of December 2021
And bam, instead of traveling to the Czech bakery I will make these at home. My mother use to make these when I was a little girl growing up in cicero. I'm always in the kitchen whipping up Czech meals. Dobrou Chut!
Sunday 14th of February 2021
Originally, I was going to make Vanocni Cukrovi today, but then I saw the Kolachkes and decided to give it a try. If I hosted tea parties, that is where I would serve them. They are very good, but aren't sweet enough for me to qualify them as a desserty dessert. They really would pair well with tea.
I made partial recipes of both the cream cheese filling and nut filling to see which I prefered. I also used raspberry jam. The cheese filling was nice and I'm not sure how I feel about nut filling.
Friday 14th of May 2021
@Julia, sprinkle some of the nuts on top of the cheese! Great this way.