I love relaxing and reflecting on life while gazing into a glistening Christmas tree.
Just me and my egg foo young.
Yep, that’s what happens when you’re sick and there’s no food in the house.
Healing foo to the rescue.
But you know, I did manage to squeak out a little Christmas magic while under the weather (well, only after my nausea subsided. Before that, just imagining France’s traditional thirteen desserts made me want to run and christen the nearest “bush” de noel).
This week I made something special. I’m sure many people reflect just as pleasantly on their memories of these. From several countries there are versions of such simple pastries, and whether fruit or nut filled, risen or rolled, folded up or lying flat, these kolacky embody the spirit of not just the holidays, but of all things family.
The wide-eyed darlings are downright irresistible. A large, tender disc of cream cheese dough is spread carefully with a dollop of thick raspberry filling. The pair go into the oven where the sugarless dough puffs proudly upward, thrusting the warm jam-like centers slightly into the air.
The trick is to remove them before any signs of aging are upon them. Just before the pale white bases show a glisten of golden upon their smooth, youthful edges, they are whisked out of the heat.
Due to the only sweetness being provided by the ruby topping, it is of the utmost importance that a light dusting of powdered sugar descend gently upon the cooling cookies so that it may be absorbed into those harmonious layers.
Oh, and then once cooled, it is then equally as essential to douse them shamelessly in a deluge of sugary snowfall.
Yes, this is actually recommended for the balance of flavors. Therefore, leave out any leftover dinner green beans so Aunt Jenny Craig doesn’t have a panic attack seeing you break a sweat creating powdered sugar kitchen fog.
Biting into one makes you feel like all the kolache vs kolacky battles you’ve been in no longer matter for the moment. Regardless your heritage or whether you say they end in an “e” or a “y”- all sweet seekers can join hands and stuff their faces in beautiful Christmas communion.
The rich dough simply melts in your mouth lending that subtle salt against the sweet of baked raspberry jelly.
Follow this bouche to Noel bliss:
Roll the best kind of ribbon curls.
Make an elf assembly line.
Send the elves home. Eat them all. In that order.
Kolacky and Kolache Cookies
See, something Grandma talks about can be cool with these amazing, yet traditional fruit-filled cookies. A rich butter and cream cheese dough makes for a melt in your mouth experience. This is a less sweet version of some commercial varieties, but with arguably more flavor. Don’t underestimate the perfection that is simplicity. Thanks to my friend Vicki for reminding me of that with this wonderful recipe.
Recipe adapted very slightly from superstar friend > Culinary Arts Institute: Polish Cookbook
- 1 C butter, room temperature
- 8oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/4 C flour
- fruit filling or very thick jam, any flavor such as raspberry or apricot*
* I was not able to make my own filling this time so I used canned filling (which was awsome!). If you are using jam, be sure it is very thick or it will bleed all over the cookie and right onto the pan.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheet with silpat mat or parchment paper.
- Cream together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
- Separately, whisk together salt and flour. Add this to the butter mixture in three parts, beating between additions.
- Form dough into a round disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Allow to chill in refrigerator 2 hours or overnight. Allow to come to a temperature warm enough to roll before continuing.
- I rolled the dough to about 3/8 inch thickness on a layer of plastic wrap after storing overnight in the fridge. It was a lovely dough to work with this way, causing no sticking at all. Alternatively, you can roll on a lightly floured surface.
- Cut out rounds in your desired size, in the ballpark of 2 inches diameter. Re-roll and cut until all dough is used. Make a slight indentation in the shape of a circle into each round. Place 1-1.5 tsp of filling into this indentation and spread it around without covering the edges of the dough. The dough does not spread and instead puffs up so this allows many cookies to fit on one baking sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven 10-15 minutes until barely golden. Try to remove them just before golden. Once they cool to room temperature, you will see that this is enough cooking time. Once moved to a cooling rack and still warm, sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.
- Once completely cool, sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar- enjoy!