Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kolacky or Kolace, From Central Europe With Love

Pretty kolaces filled with jam
I often spend time reading recipes or watching cooking shows online or on TV. This is a great source of inspiration for me as I often discover new recipes and learn about exotic ingredients.

I came across kolaches or kolacky, the recipe featured in this post, while looking for new ideas for baked sweets. This sweet pastry recipe originated in several central European countries like Poland, the Czech Repulic and Macedonia among others.

It seems this cookie started as a yeasted dough filled with jam, fruits, or poppy seeds or cream.  With time many variations were made. The cookie and its many variations are still important in celebrations  in several central European countries. 

With the waves of  Polish and Czech immigrants settling in many parts of the USA, the recipe became popular in the New World  by the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. But as the recipe left its homeland, it underwent some modifications, as such kolacky with cream cheese is a 19th century American invention!

The name kolacky means small cookies in Macedonian, as I am lucky to have friends from all over the world, I contacted my Macedonian friend and asked him about this dessert. Todor, my friend, graciously shared with me his grandmother's recipe of kolace.

I had made pastries made with cream cheese before so I was interested to try the cream cheese version of kolace, but I was more interested in trying my friend's grandmother recipe, after all, the best recipes are those of our mothers and grandmothers passed down through generations and refined through time. 

For the cream cheese colacky you need:
  • 80 g cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 68 g butter softened (20 g of which are salted, if not just add a pinch of salt)
  • 74 g flour
  • 1 tbp vanilla sugar
  • Sprinkle of ground star anise
  • For the filling, use your favorite type of jam
Easy steps to make the kolace
These ingredients are enough to make a small batch of cookies (about 10 to 12). All you need to do is to whisk the cream cheese with the butter, until it becomes light and fluffy using a hand mixer, or an electric one if your are doubling the ingredients. If you need to add the salt do it now, followed by the star anise and  then start adding the flour slowly  in 3 to 4 batches.

You know the dough is ready when it comes all together and nothing is left sticking on the sides of the bowl! The dough needs to rest for at least 6 hours in the fridge or over night.

Take the dough out of the fridge and leave it for about half an hour so it reaches room temperature. On a floured surface, roll out  the dough to 1/2 cm in thickness, then cut 3 x 3 cm squares or circles or whatever shape you desire.
Put a teaspoon of any fruit jam you have in the center of the cut dough. I used cherry, raspberry and grape jam with which I used some peanut butter. Take 2 sides of the dough and fold them over the jam. Once you have all the dough ready put it in the fridge for half an hour, then pop it in the oven and bake them for about 15 min in a preheated over (180C).
Cream cheese kolaces
When the cookies are cooled, dust them with some icing sugar.

Oozing jam from the kolace, inviting sight
For the kolache cookies, todor´s grandma recipe you need:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter, oil, or lard
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 an egg or replace by  30 g of milk or 30 ml (if you are using egg add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla)
  • Pinch of salt
Traditional shaped kolace
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, add the egg and mix then add the oil until all ingredients come together. Let it to rest for about half an hour in the fridge.

Divide the dough into small balls about 25 g each and place them on a baking sheet. With your thumb or a fondant ball tool, make a hole in the balls, fill the hole with jam and bake them for about 15 to 20 min, until they have a golden brown color on the bottom. 

Let them cool for few minutes and sprinkle some dusting sugar.
Very elegant and pretty sweets, but above all very delicious
Here you have it, two different kolacky or kolache recipes with different textures, both very delicious and easy to make!

No comments:

Post a Comment