Kolachy cookies are an easy mix of a cream cheese pastry folded over a jam filling. They're as tasty as they are pretty, and a great addition to your cookie plate.
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Believe it or not, the idea of baking lots of cookies in December is relatively new to me. As a child, we made Christmas cake, sometimes a stollen and while we might have some cookies around, it wasn't quite the same as the big baking projects I've come across since moving to the US.
However it's a tradition I have got more in to, and funny enough the kids approve as well.
I love the variety you find around the world, both in traditional Christmas cookies and more generally. Some favorites include German ginger cookies, alfajores (dulce de leche sandwich cookies), kleicha (Iraqi date cookies) and brunkager (Danish Christmas cookies).
Having come across kolachy cookies, I knew I needed to add them to the list for this year's baking.
What are kolachy cookies?
Kolachy cookies are typically made from a simple pastry made from cream cheese, butter and flour folded over a little jam filling. Sometimes they have a cheese or nut filling.
They go by a few names depending on which language (eg kolaczki, kolache, kolacky) and can be found across Eastern Europe. Some argue they are originally Czech, others say Polish.
Origins aside, they have a few variations (some use a yeasted dough, for example) but the same general, delicious idea.
While the cookies are usually made by folding two sides of a square piece of dough over the filling in many places, in the Czech Republic in particular, they tend to be round and you may come across a larger kolach as well. These kolache are more of a pastry with more filling in them too.
Steps to make these cookies
I've made these about as easy as I could, using a simple cream cheese dough and jam that I already had. They do take a little time as you need to chill the dough, but they are still relatively easy.
- Cream together the butter and cream cheese.
- Mix in the flour.
- Chill the dough at least an hour or two, or overnight.
- Roll out the dough and cut into small squares.
- Put a small spoonful of jam in the middle of each square and fold over two opposite corners.
- Bake until lightly golden.
- Dust with powdered sugar once cool (not obligatory but recommended!)
Kolachy cookies add a wonderful pop of color to and Holiday cookie plate, although to be honest I think they'd be great any time. Easy to make, easy to adapt and great to give as a gift as well. Give them a try!
Looking for more traditional cookies? Try these!
- Alfajores (dulce de leche sandwich cookies)
- Brunkager (Danish spiced Christmas cookies)
- Kleicha (Iraqi date cookies)
- Plus get more Holiday recipes in the archives.
Tools to make these cookies
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
- 3 oz cream cheese 85g
- 4 oz unsalted butter 115g (1 stick)
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour 175g plain flour
- 6 tbsp jam (choose flavors of your choice)
- 1 tsp confectioner's sugar (for dusting, approx) icing sugar
Ahead of time
- Cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and slightly fluffy.
- Mix in the flour, around a third to half at a time, until combined. Form into a ball, wrap with cling wrap/film and refrigerate overnight (or at least a couple hours).
When ready to bake
- Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a relatively thin layer, approx ¼in/2mm thick. Trim the edges off the dough and cut it in to squares approx 2 ½in/6cm square.
- Put approx 1tsp of jam in the middle of each square and fold over opposite corners. Seal them together by pressing with one finger inside, one over, using a little water to help them seal if needed.
- Place the cookies on a lined cookie sheet and bake for approx 15-18 minutes until going lightly golden around the edges.
- Leave to cool a minute before carefully transferring to a cooling rack. Dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.
Try these other recipes using pastry:
- Baked Chicken Borek by Sneha's Recipes
- Cheesy Asparagus Potato Tart by Food Lust People Love
- Cornish-Style Steak Pasties by Karen's Kitchen Stories
- Garlic Herb Chicken in Puff Pastry by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Puff Pastry Apple Cranberry Strudel by Veggie Fun Kitchen
- Raspberry Pistachio Palmiers by Palatable Pastime