Kolaczki, or Polish jam cookies as they are also called, are a popular holiday cookie not only in Poland, but also in the Czech Republic, Russia, Austria and Denmark. For me, they are a recent discovery. My younger son is jam lover, so these cherry Kolaczki have become a new favorite in our household.
These Polish Christmas favorites are best be described as a cross between a cookie and a pastry. If you ask me, that’s about as good as it gets. The dough. which is a cream cheese-butter mixture, creates a lovely flaky texture similar to pie crust. In many ways Kolaczki are a cross of two of my favorite cookies; rugelach and hamentashin.
Traditionally, Kołaczki are made in a diamond shape, but they can also be made round or square. Fillings for these simple, irresistible cookies can be just about anything you can think up. A fruit filling such as apricot, raspberry or sweet prune is most common. But like their Jewish cousins, almond, poppy seed, even sweet cheese are also great options.
I filled my Kolaczki with sweet cherry preserves which is perfect for the holiday season due to the dark red hues of the fruit. Dusted lightly with confectioners’ sugar, these easy to make holiday cookies make a great addition to any holiday cookie plate.
Cherry Kolaczki (Polish Christmas Cookies)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3/4-1 cup cherry preserves
- 1 egg white, for egg wash
- 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- Step 1 In the bowl of a kitchen mixer add the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla and beat on medium until light and fluffy, scrapping down the sides as needed. Add the egg and mix to incorporate.
- Step 2 Add the salt and flour and mix on low till well incorporated. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and form into flat rounds disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for at least 1 hour.
- Step 3 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Place the egg white in a small dish for an egg wash and set near your work station.
- Step 4 Working with one disk of dough at a time, roll out on a lightly floured work surface till about 1/4-inch in thickness. Using a paring knife, cut the dough into 2×2-inch squares and place on the prepare baking sheets.
- Step 5 Spoon about 1 teaspoon of jam into the center of the dough square. Repeat with all the remaining squares. Using your hands, carefully fold up one corner into the center as if you were folding a letter in thirds. Using a pasty brush. Lightly brush the top of that corner with egg wash. Take the opposite side and fold that onto the piece in the middle with the egg wash and press down gently to adhere. Repeat this process with the remaining squares until all the Kolaczki have been fill and sealed.
- Step 6 Place in the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes until just beginning to turn golden on the tips. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Right before serving, dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar.
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