Kolacky Cookies – Christmas Tradition
It’s just not the holiday season in our tribe without baking at least a kajillion different kinds of Christmas cookies, a tradition I inherited from both the Lugar and Curry clans. Every holiday table in all of our relatives homes were lavishly laid with dozens of cookies, sweets, and delicacies from either our Croatian (Lugar) or Lebanese (Curry) heritage as well as all-American favorites. Aunt Betty always had her famous fudge, Aunt Naomi had her peanut butter kiss cookies, Aunt Helen her chocolate covered candies, Aunt Grace her sugar cookies, Grandma her strudel, and my Mom her nut and poppy seed rolls. However, ALL the Lugar women would have Kolacky filled with their own family’s favorite filling. In our house, I loved the apricot of elderberry filled!
This Christmas was the first year I tried making my Mom’s Kolacky recipe, in part because I needed to make a variety of cookies to sell for the Santa Breakfast fundraiser, and because often when I make a lot of ethnic foods I am the only one in my tribe to enjoy them (and I really don’t need to eat an entire batch of cookies). With holiday nostalgia in full swing, I thought I would give it a go over the Thanksgiving break. I turned around at one point to where the cookies were cooling on the counter to find Mackdaddy popping them one by one in his mouth as though they grew on trees, mumbling “these are really good!” through his mouthfuls! Needless to say, these will be getting added to my holiday regular list!
Some tips I found along the way:
Bring all the items to room temperature
Although not in my Mom’s original recipe, I find that the parchment paper is an absolute MUST! It helps give a nice even bake, and makes clean up SO MUCH EASIER if any of your filling happens to spill out of the cookies while baking.
a holiday favorite- Eastern European
- 2 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 8 oz cream cheese room temp
- 1 cup butter
- 2 1/2 cup filling Our favorites are apricot or raspberry preserves!
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar for dusting
Prepare the cookie dough
Mix the flour and salt together with a fork, then set aside.
Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. blend together with a mixer until very creamy.
SLOWLY add the flour mix to the cream cheese/butter mixture – about a 1/3 c at a time.
Gently place the dough on a floured surface and flatten/roll until about a 1/2 inch thick. Cut into four equal portions and wrap each one in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for several hours (at least 3).
Time to bake!
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (make sure your oven racks are in the center of the oven.) Use parchment paper on your cookie sheet as well. Only take one portion of the dough from the fridge at a time.
Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and place on a floured surface again (be sure to dust the top with flour as well). Roll the dough out until about an 1/8 inch thick.
Using your diamond cookie cutter (or a knife if you don't have one), you will be cutting the "squares" for your cookies (if you are using a knife, you want the diamond to measure about 3 inches tall by 2 inches wide.
Put a small amount of your filling in the center of the diamond. Fold the short sides in and pinch together to close (then push the dough you pinched to one side).
Gently place cookies on cookie sheet lined with parchment about one inch apart, and dust with granulated sugar.
Bake 12-15 minutes.