My husband’s family is from Poland, he is first generation-born American. We have so many fun Eastern European traditions at our house and we value having a Polish heritage. Kolaczki cookies are one of those special cultural traditions we want to make sure lives on with us and our children. We even included them next to the cake table at our wedding – they are beautiful enough even for the most dressy occasion.
What are kolaczki, you might ask? Kolaczki are polish cookies with a cream cheese and butter dough. The dough could not be easier to make up, and this is your make-ahead step. In fact, the dough needs to be made up at least 2 hours in advance, but if possible, is best if it sits overnight. The dough can be made up to 3 days in advance.
I recently had a nice phone call with my Aunt Liz, she makes amazing…well, everything. We talked about what I planned on making for the holidays and I told her that I really wanted to make kolaczki. She shared her recipe and tips with me and I combined them along with a recipe already in my repertoire. You can fill these with all sorts of cake and pie filling, however, I do not recommend anything runny as you will end up with
a goopy mess. My favorite fillings are apricot, raspberry, and Nutella – you’ll find photos of all of them throughout this post, but feel free to try different flavors. I included expert tips from Aunt Liz as well in my recipe below to help make these cookies a cinch!
Kolaczki (Polish Cookies)Difficulty: Medium
Polish cookies, or Kolaczki, are a great cookie to have around for the holidays or any special occasion throughout the year.
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, at room temperature
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups filling (in this case, I used 3/4 cups Nutella and 3/4 cups Apricot cake & pastry filling)
Course sugar, for rolling the dough and for sprinkling cookies
Powdered sugar, for rolling the dough and for a garnish
- Beat the cream cheese, butter, and granulated sugar in an automatic mixer with the speed on medium-high, until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour and salt until just combined. Do not over-combine the mixture as this will make your dough tough to roll out.
- Collect the dough into a ball and divide the dough between two large pieces of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. After the dough has chilled, take the dough balls out of the fridge and let them warm up on the counter for about 20 minutes. Place it on a large piece of parchment paper or a silicon mat that has been sprinkled with equal parts powdered sugar and course sugar. (Do NOT use flour.)
- Roll out the dough, pressing firmly down on the dough to roll it out to a 1/8 inch thickness, dusting with more powdered sugar and granulated sugar as needed. Cut out 2 1/2 to 3-inch squares using a pizza cutter or a square cookie cutter. Arrange the cutouts a few inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Collect any remaining scraps and roll into a ball, wrap, and refrigerate for more cookies.
- Fill each square with about 1 teaspoon of filling into the center of each cutout. Fold two opposite corners to overlap in the center. Lightly press down to seal. Sprinkle with course sugar. Let sit for about 10-15 minutes to allow the dough to relax.
- Bake for a total of 20 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through. Cool completely on a wire rack, and repeat steps 4-6 with remaining dough and scraps. Once cooled, dust with powdered sugar, and serve.
Tips from aunt liz
- The dough thickness is extremely important when making kolaczki. If your dough is too thick, the cookies will open up in the oven.
- Do not over-fill the kolaczki or they will ooze out all over the cookie trays during baking.
- Why do you not flour the surface before rolling the dough? Flour will cause this dough to stick and you will not be able to roll it out properly. Instead use equal parts powdered sugar and course sugar.