Friday, 28 December 2012

2002 - Wacky for Kolacky (that does not rhyme)

Last night (Nov. 25), I mixed up a batch of Klotzky dough. It was such an easy dough because it only used three ingredients: cream cheese, butter and flour. Then I popped it in the fridge overnight. I baked the Klotzky this morning and learned an awful lot for next year (or maybe when I get back from America). 

At first, I thought they were going to be too much trouble: easy to make the dough but a pain to make the cookies and bake them. The recipe I used called for a diamond-shaped cookie cutter. I was going to use a pastry wheel to cut the dough into diamonds but I decided to use a round biscuit cutter (or I could have used a glass). 

Then I realized that a whole teaspoon of preserves, or jam, in each cookie is too much - it's more like a scant 1/2 teaspoon that's needed. The preserves made quite a mess on the cookie sheets if I used too much jam. I overlapped two opposite sides and pinched in the center, to make the bow-tie-shaped cookies. Yet, on my first tray full, they all burst open in the oven. And if they burst apart, they're just not pretty.

I pinched and twisted the dough together in subsequent batches and the cookies, mostly, stayed closed. I'm thinking parchment paper is a must in the future (but that could affect how brown the cookie bottoms get). In that respect, I'll have to keep a careful eye on them while they bake and not pay much attention to the timer.

It's also important to roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness (or should I say thinness?), or they won't come out nice and tidy - but rather fat and bulgy. They're a delicate cookie, a bit like a little fruit turnover or pie.

My husband, son and myself ate two each, straight from the oven. So we wound up with 4 1/2 dozen left to put in the freezer. They're so good! Definitely worth the effort, which isn't much once you get the hang of it.

Klotzky have many incarnations and spellings. Whether you call them Jam Kolaches, Kolaczki, Kolacky, Clotchky or Polish Bow-Tie Cookies, they have Slavic origins. The most common spelling is Kolacky (pronounced ko-LAHCH-kee, which explains all the spelling variants). Kolache means "small cookie" in Macedonian.

Most recipes call for cream cheese in the dough; and jam or preserves for the filling, which is the Polish variant of this Eastern European favorite. This recipe usually lists as few as five ingredients, including butter, cream cheese, flour, jam and powdered sugar for dusting. It's not easy to find two that list the same amounts, though. Furthermore, variations can use shortening, sour cream, cinnamon, egg, and even ice cream.

Here's what a perfect little
Kolacky should look like.
The method of shaping the cookies can vary, from bow-tie shaped to thumbprint-style to crescent-shaped. Although I made mine bow-tie shaped, other recipes call for rolling the dough into a log before refrigerating. Cookies are then cut into 1/4-inch slices, thumb-printed in the center and filled with a 1/2 teaspoon of jam. If you have trouble keeping yours Kolacky sticking, you can pinch both opposite sides together to form a little parcel.

Blogger StressCake offers a few tips: Roll the cookie dough between two sheets of plastic wrap before chilling. She also says pie filling doesn't bubble or run as much as jam can. For anyone in the States, that usually equates to Solo. Also, rather than a teaspoon, use a pastry bag to fill cookies. (I suggest squeezing out a teaspoonful onto a piece of parchment paper as a guide.)


1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour
Jam or pie filling (about 1/2 cup)
powdered sugar for dusting (optional, but recommended)

Mix cream cheese, butter and flour. Divide into two discs and refrigerate overnight (or at least one hour). Roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into 2-inch squares with a pastry cutter or cut out 2-inch circles with a round cookie cutter. 

Fill the center of each cookie with about 1/2 teaspoon of jam, preserves or pie filling. Pinch together opposite sides of each cookie. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

Alternatively, you can roll the dough into two logs; chill; then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Use your thumb or spoon to make a dent in the center of each cookie. Fill with your choice of filling.

Cream Cheese Filling
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of Kosher salt
Cream together all ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Refrigerate until needed.

Simple Nut Filling
1/2 pound ground walnuts
1/2 cup super fine sugar (or half brown sugar)
2 egg whites
Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl and use to fill cookies.

No comments:

Post a Comment