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!
- 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.