Polish Kolaczki Cookies
Kolaczki Cookie Overview
I had never tasted or even heard of a kolaczki cookie until I met my husband. Every holiday season his mother makes these traditional polish cream cheese cookies and they are divine. His family is not Polish themselves, but his parents grew up on the south side of Chicago and these cookies were popular in the area.
In researching this cookie I learned that there are many different spellings including kolaczki, kolachky, kolachy, and kolacky. But however you spell it, the cookie starts with a cream cheese dough that is rolled out and filled with all kinds of fillings.
Why these Cookies are one of My Favorite Holiday Cookies…
- The dough requires very few ingredients
- They taste like a fancy pastry, but are much easier to make!
- One batch makes a lot of cookies- perfect for sharing or putting in a cookie tin!
- The assembly process is best done with a crowd! Make them with kids or other friends and family!
I also love that you can do a variety of fillings to please everyone! Choose two or three fillings so that everyone you share them with will find something they like!
How to Make Polish Kolaczki Cookies
- Pick out your fillings. I have found that a pre-made canned filling, like solo brand filling, actually works best in these cookies. Canned fillings are very thick which means they will not seep out of the cookie. You can use a jam instead, but be aware that the filling might run out!
- Make the cream cheese dough. The dough requires very few ingredients: butter, cream cheese, vanilla, salt, and flour. Mix all of the ingredients together until a stiff dough forms.
- Chill the dough. Because this dough has a high ratio of butter and cream cheese, you do need to chill it to make it easier to roll out. I press the dough out thin between plastic wrap so it chills faster.
- Roll out the dough. Roll out the chilled dough in some powdered sugar so it doesn’t stick. You want to roll it out to be about 1/4″ thick. I work with about 1/4th of the dough at a time, keeping the rest chilled until I need it.
- Cut the dough into squares. You can make the squares as small or as big as you like. Some people like really large cookies. I make them fairly small, about 2 inches by 2 inches. This gives you two bite cookies. A bench scraper or pizza cutter is a great tool for this.
- Add filling to the cookies. You want to spoon it right down the center 3rd of the square. Try to be careful not to overfill them or they might pop open while baking.
- Seal the cookies by dipping your finger in a bit of water and dampening one corner. Seal the corners together by pressing firmly. This will ensure they do not pop open in the oven.
- Bake the cookies until just barely golden brown. They will not gain much color.
- Dust the cooled kolaczkis with powdered sugar before serving.
Tips for Success!
- It’s really important that the dough remain chilled as you are rolling out the cookies, otherwise it will get too sticky. Work with a small piece of dough at a time, keeping the rest in the refrigerator.
- You can be liberal with the powdered sugar as you roll them out. This is why I prefer it to flour when rolling so that the cookies don’t get too dry.
- You can freeze the kolaczki dough for up to 3 months before using. Wrap it well or store in a freezer ziplock bag. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.
These are one of my favorite unique holiday cookies to add to my cookie tin! They are so special and different than what most people will be gifting!
Polish Kolaczki Cookies
Kolaczki cookies are a traditional Polish cream cheese cookie. The cookie dough almost mimics a pastry and is filled with a variety of fillings such as apricot, prune, cherry, almond, poppy seed, and more!
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 226 gr) unsalted butter, room temp
- 8 oz (225 gr) cream cheese, room temp
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 1/4 cups (270 gr) all purpose flour (measured properly by spooning into measuring cups without packing down and leveling off)
- solo brand filling of choice (*see note)
- powdered sugar for rolling and dusting
- In the bowl of the a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese on medium/high speed until light and fluffy. This should take about 2 minutes.
- Mix in the vanilla and the salt until well combined.
- With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour slowly until all incorporated. You will have a very thick and sticky dough.
- Transfer the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper and press it out to about 1/2" thick. Chill in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes, until easy to handle. You can chill the dough for longer, but may need to let it sit out for a bit before rolling it.
- Dust a clean work surface liberally with powdered sugar. Take about 1/4th of the dough and dust the top with more powdered sugar. Roll out to a square about 1/4" thick. Keep the rest of the dough in the refrigerator as you work.
- Using a pizza cutter or bench knife, cut the dough into 2 inch by 2 inch squares.
- Spread about 1 tsp of filling down the middle of each square, corner to corner. To seal, dab a bit of water on one of the corners without filling and seal it in the center with the other corner. Press to seal so the cookies do not pop open in the oven. Transfer the filled cookies onto parchment lined baking sheets. The cookies will not spread so you can place them fairly close together.
- Bake at 350 F (170 C) for 14-18 minutes, until just barely golden brown. Transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.
- Dust cooled cookies with powdered sugar before serving. If you will not be serving right away, wait to dust until right before serving.
- Store cookies covered at room temperature for about 3 days. They will start to get soggy if not eaten within a few days. I also do not recommend storing them airtight. Place a lid loosely over top or cover with foil or plastic wrap.
*This recipe was adapted by me from my mother-in-law's recipe
- A note about the filling. I find that canned filling does work best because it doesn't leak out of the cookie. Yes, it does contain corn syrup, but it is a cookie after all! If you prefer to make a filling, I suggest making a dried fruit filling. You can use jam if you like, but be aware it might leak out as it bakes.
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44 Comments on “Polish Kolaczki Cookies”
Love this dough! After making two batches I’ve learned that less filling is best. Also if dough isn’t rolled out thin enough they will open up. Many of mine opened during baking. Wetting the dough didn’t seem to help. I used fig jam, raspberry jam and cherry pie filling. I preferred the jams to the pie filling. Will continue to perfect my technique as the flavor is delicious!
I made these last night and OMG, the flavor was amazing. We used apple and cherry pie fillings. Mine came open, but I was rushing and forgot the water, so that might help next time. I will be trying these again, because I am determined to get mine to look like the picture. My sister suggested making these savory instead of sweet, since the dough isn’t sweet. I had some leftover dough (scraps from each 1/4 after rolled), so decided to throw on some Italian seasonings and cheese to the last bit. I forgot I’d rolled them in powdered sugar….so there was that. I think the savory versions NOT rolled in powdered sugar will be amazing.
Would it be okay to store the dough in the fridge for a couple days? I don’t want to freeze it because it would be a short turnaround before I need to bake them.
If your cookies are popping open during baking like mine did, try pressing individual pie weight beads where the dough overlaps. It worked great for me.
Good idea! But be careful because the dough might stick to the ball. I suggest using a bit more water on on your fingertip to secure the seal.
These kokacky cookies came out great!
I do agree that the jam does leak out so bought filling does work better.
I’m so glad you liked them!
I use preserves
I remember my Grandmother using crushed walnut mixture with applesauce for a filling. The key and very important ingredient for the dough was BUTTER!!!!!!!!!! She would knead the dough thoroughly and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Also, she would make a pastry loaf out of this. Well worth the work!!!!!!
Yum! That sounds amazing!
HELP!! After dough was refrigerated it is TOO HARD an not workable–I have left it on the counter to “soften” for 2 hours now and still like a rock!!!
What can I DO!?!
Thanks for ANY Suggestions!
How long was it in the fridge? How was it stored? The dough should be pressed between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper and pressed out to about 1/2″ thick. If it was stored much thicker than that it will take longer to soften.
Can you freeze the dough?
Yes, you can!
I am making them early for a Xmas cookie exchange. Can these cookies be frozen if made a couple weeks in advance?
Can these cookies be frozen? (not powerdered, of course) I am baking for Christmas about 10 days earlier this year and would love to add these to my trays, if they can be preserved for that long. Thank you.
Nevermind! I had not seen the comments prior to posting. My question has been answered! 🙂
I lost my grandmother’s recipe for Lola my thank you and yes I lived on the south side of Chicago too!!! Thank You again
You’re welcome! Enjoy!
My mom grew up on the southside of Chicago and made these cookies as well! I have made these every year for my kids to. Thank you for your tips I will add them to my mothers recipe.
Thanks for sharing!
Does anyone have a recipe for a kolacky made with cottage cheese, My Great auntie used to make them and nut rolls but I can’t find the recipe, any help would be appreciated. I will make try and make these instead, Thanks so much!
Can something be done to a jam that will make it less likely to run out?
Maybe sauté it a bit so some of the water evaporates ?
Great recipe ! Yummy kolaczki! I used the left over dried fruit that I made kompot from , puréed them with some sugar and pectin and used that as the filling . Nothing went to waste 🙂
I remember my grandmother making these with a nut filling. Would you have the ingredients for that (ground walnuts, sugar, honey?, etc.). Thanks
Solo brand makes an almond filling that would be perfect for these.
I can’t find solo brand here in WV. So bummed. Will try preserves this year. The Almond was always one of my favorite!
Does anyone have tips on how to thicken the preserves or jams so they don’t run while baking?
We made these every Christmas. Our dough was rolled in a board sprinkles with regular sugar. Amazing
I added a bit of cornstarch to some jam (about 1/2 tsp to 1/4 cup jam) and they did not leak. You could also try reducing the jam on the stovetop to thicken it.
The problem I did have is keeping the cookies folded up. They opened up flat in the oven, lol. I’ll have to keep trying I guess.
Great idea! Unfolding is a common problem with these. You just have to really seal them well with the water before baking.
This is the worst dough I have ever worked with. After following the recipe exactly, the dough was so mushy and kept sticking to my counter top even with sprinkling generous amounts of powdered sugar as directed. I kept putting it back in the fridge to keep it cool also. Very doubtful that I will make this recipe again.
I’m so sorry you didn’t like it! Did you weigh out your ingredients? That can make a big difference in getting the right texture.
My Polish grandma made these with apricot and poppy seed every year, and this recipe is the closest to her cookies I’ve had! I really think rolling the dough out prior to chilling helps the cookies to stay closed, as I was able to roll it much thinner. All the other recipes I’ve made were doughy and the cookies opened. These stayed closed and the cookies were nice and flaky, absolutely perfect!
My grandmother would cut a small circle and push her thumb into the middle for a little well and put her filling in it. Love these cookies brings back beautiful memories of baking with my grandmother.
Adding to my Christmas baking list**
Can I freeze the dough? I like to prepare WAY ahead!
These are addicting! After mastering the dough rolling. (Yes keeping dough cool is the key) my company went crazy for them and took some home. They loved the raspberry and nut filled the best( finely chopped walnuts, granulated sugar and a bit of cinnamon). Making again today for company tomorrow.
Wonderful! So glad everyone loved them! Great job!