Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Recipe #35: My Grandmother's Kolaches

There are  dozens of recipes for this Czech-originated cookie.  All I know is that this particular recipe came from my grandmother.  When I was young, my mom would make these for dessert at home dinner parties during the holiday.  She would use apricot and prune filling for the centers, but you can use poppyseed, lemon...just about anything, as long as the filling is not thin.  A thin filling will spread over the cookie, and it will taste great, but not look so nice.  Two things about this takes no eggs, and if you like to nibble on raw dough like I do, this is "not" one of my favorites.  But, the end result is something you can get addicted to.

2 sticks butter                                                 1 cup confectioners sugar
8 oz cream cheese                                          2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour                                                     1/2 tsp salt
Solo pastry filling, or other canned filling

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Cream butter and cream cheese in a mixer until fluffy.  Add flour mixture gradually until all is incorporated into the dough.   At this point, I split the dough in half and place each half on a sheet of parchment paper.  I try to spread it into a log shape with a rubber spatula, though I know this is not an easy task.  Just do the best you can.  Then roll into a log shape within the parchment paper.  There are two tricks I use to make this easier.  Once you do two rolls with the parchment, use a 12" ruler and force it lengthwise against the roll.  This will compact the dough.  Continue to roll and repeat a couple of times.  Sometimes I will even unroll the dough a little and start using the ruler again.  The other trick is after you have rolled the parchment to the end of the paper, twist one end, then the other.  This will automatically tighten the dough and provide a more tubular shape (picture below).  Refrigerate dough for a few hours, until firm.  Cut into slices a little more than 1/4".  Place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Now you need to make an indentation in the center of each cookie.  What works well is either a melon baller, the bottom of a wooden lemon reamer or your thumb dipped in flour for each cookie...something with a round shape.  Fill with a spoonful of filling.  Bake 10-15 minutes at 350 or just until the edges start to brown.  Cool on a rack and dust with confectioners sugar.  Bon appetit!

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