Kolaches are a traditional Hungarian cookie also found in Polish, Slovak, Croatian, and other Eastern European baking traditions. Each culture pronounces and spells them differently; I believe my Hungarian grandma, Zella, said ko-latch, whether she meant one cookie or a dozen.
I thought my Hungarian blood would automatically equal kolache baking prowess, but I’ve been wrong twice now. My primary problem is that most of them pop open while they’re baking; the photo at left is one of about 12 or so that actually stayed closed. I also suspect that using pastry filling, rather than preserves, would help maintain the structure of the treat, so I’ll give that a shot next time.
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- About 1 1/2 cups apricot preserves
In a medium bowl, sift together flour and salt; set aside.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl frequently, for about 3-5 minutes until light and creamy.
Add flour mixture in three batches, beating well between each addition, scraping the sides of the bowl well. Dough will be soft, but not sticky.
Divide dough into four equal portions, roll into balls, and flatten into discs. Wrap in plastic and chill dough for at least 2 hours; I chilled mine overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and move the rack up one position from the center. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.
Dust your counter top with granulated sugar and dust both sides of each dough disc with flour. Roll out to about 1/8 inch thickness.
Using a 2-inch square cookie cutter, cut dough into squares and place on prepared baking sheets. Spoon a dollop of apricot filling into the middle of each square; I used a generous 1/4 teaspoon from my measuring spoon set.
Fold two opposite corners in and press together to seal; I found that tucking one corner all the way under the opposite side helped prevent them from bursting open while they baked, but only in some cases.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, until tops are light golden brown. Cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.