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Kolachkes

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!

Kolachkes on silver serving tray.

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.

Rolling out dough

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.

Cutting and filling cookies

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.

Dusting with powdered sugar while warm on rack

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🍴🐦

Tray full of kolachkes

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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Tray full of kolachkes

Kolachkes

Traditional Czech cookies filled with jam, cheese or nuts and dusted with powdered sugar.
4.8 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Christmas cookies, Dessert
Cuisine: Czech
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Overnight chill time: 12 hours
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 dozen
Author: Kelly | the hungry bluebird

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Cheese Filling:  Beat together 1 (8-ounce) package softened cream cheese, 1 egg yolk, ½ cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until well mixed and smooth.
Nut Filling:  Cook 1 cup coarsely ground walnuts in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, ⅓ cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until the nuts turn golden.  Let cool.
 
Makes 7 to 8 dozen, recipe can be halved
 
Keyword: kolachkes, kolache cookies, traditional kolache recipe
Did you make this recipe? Please comment, rate it and share! And mention me on Instagram @thehungrybluebird or tag #thehungrybluebird so I can see!

 

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Recipe Rating




Laura

Wednesday 23rd of December 2020

I just made these for my husband and kids. My husband’s grandmother was Czech and he has such warm memories of her and these cookies at Christmas. He gave me the nod and the smile. Thank you!

Karen

Thursday 17th of December 2020

Not sure where my comment from this morning is but the nutshell is there are fantastic! I love them. They are not like mom's, hers were a dense crunchy cookie. I will keep lookong for a recipe like hers. But these will be a regular here!

Kelly

Wednesday 23rd of December 2020

Thanks for letting me know, Karen. These are definitely a little more delicate, I know the texture you mean, they are more of a dense cookie in the bakeries, too. Glad you still liked this recipe!

Karen

Thursday 17th of December 2020

I never learned how to make kolache from my mother, but I recall how good they were when she made them. I just made the dough from your recipe. Is it supposed to be a bit sticky as well as soft? I hope so becauae that is how mine is. It's in the fridge and i can't wait til morning when I can make my first batch!

Audrey

Sunday 13th of December 2020

Hi! I made these last week and came out wonderful! Just a question, should this be kept in the refrigerator? Have them in a cool room but wondered if the refrigerator. Is needed.

Kelly

Sunday 13th of December 2020

No, I don't refrigerate them and they are fine. Also, they freeze well after baking, I've done that, too.

Gracie

Sunday 13th of December 2020

I need these melting in my mouth like yesterday!!

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