Popularly known as Polish Christmas Cookies, the Kolaczki cookies are flaky little pastries filled with fruit, cheese, nut, or poppy seed pastes. Easy to make in an hour, they’re the perfect dessert to bring to a party!
Although they’re officially called Kołaczki Cookies, they’re also referred to as Cream Cheese Kolaches, Polish Kolachki, Kolachki, Kolace, Kolacky, and more.
The thing is… the term ‘Kołaczki’ is pretty much unknown in Poland. These cookies don’t exist in Poland the same way they’re known in the US. There are similar cookies that are made that Polish people called ‘kruche z powidłami’ (shortcrust with jam). The Kołaczki Cookies are a variant of these that were brought to the US by Polish migrants.
Kołaczki are also quite popular in Hungary where they’re called Kolaches or Kiffles; and also in Slovakia and Czechia. These countries were once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and share part of the same cultural heritage. No wonder these cookies are found across Eastern and Central Europe in some form or the other.
But the most important thing to remember about Kołaczki are the best ones have to be diamond-shaped. Squares or rectangles absolutely won’t do!
Polish Kolaczki Recipe Pointers
- Many recipes say that it’s better to roll cold dough, as the warm one will stick to your fingers. I found this to be the exact opposite. In fact, I heated up my dough in a microwave a little bit because I wasn’t able to roll it out when cold.
- When assembling kolaczki, moisten one corner of the cookie before pinching it to the other. This is so it doesn’t open when baking.
- Don’t skip whisking the cream cheese and the butter. This step is important as it gives the dough its fluffy and flaky texture. You can use a mixer if it makes it easier (it makes things faster). In the historic original recipe mixer was obviously not an option and Kolaczki were still being backes, so if you butter and cream cheese are soft enough you should be fine without it.
- You can make the dough the night before a few days ahead and store it in the refrigerator till you need to bake the cookies.
- Leftover dough can be frozen for a few months and reused at any time.
- Only dust the cookies with enough powdered sugar for it to look like falling snow. The filling in the cookies should still be visible through the sugar.
FAQs about Kolaczki Cookies
Yes, Kolaczki cookies can be filled with other jams of apricots, prunes or other fruit. They can also be filled with cheese, nuts, or poppy seed pastes.
To stop the jam from running, just put a teaspoonful of jam in the center of the cookies. Don’t use too much jam as the oven’s heat makes the jam spread out.
Yes, you can use flour to roll the dough. But here’s a trick, use powdered sugar to roll the dough instead of the flour. While the flour would dry the cookies, the powdered sugar helps roll them out without drying or sticking.
No, cookies are always soft when they’re just out of the oven. Once they cool down, they will toughen up to the right degree.
Ice cream kolaczkis are cookies where the dough is made with ice cream instead of cream cheese. These taste lush too. You can replace the cream cheese in this recipe with about 300 ml of ice cream. The rest of the steps are the same.
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup of jam
- 1 egg yolk
- some powdered sugar
- Whisk butter with cream cheese and egg yolk.
- Once it’s all fluffy, add the flour to the mixture and whisk it in.
- Add in flour and whisk it all until smooth, then wrap in a foil and put in the fridge for half an hour.
- Roll out the dough thinly and cut pieces about 2x2" each, then place jam in the middle of everywhere square.
- Fold over the sides pinching the corners together.
- Bake cookies at 350F for 15 minutes, then dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 190Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 25mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 2g