I finally got around to some Christmas cookie baking this weekend, and the highlight for my gang is the Apricot Kolaches.
Mine are not quite as perfect and beautiful as Grandma used to make, but they are getting thumbs ups around here. Apricot Kolaches are a traditional Polish tender cream cheese pastry cookie with a sweet-tart apricot filling. Grandma was 100% Polish, and her cooking and baking were like none other!
I remember Grandma painstakingly measuring each 2 inch by 2 inch square so that every singly one looked exactly the same. I don’t have nearly the patience, but I smile remembering those days in the kitchen with her. I can also now relate to the aching back and feet she had at the end of the day after rolling, cutting, filling, folding, baking, cooling, packing up… And I wish I had a young Jodi to rub my feet and massage my legs with Jergen’s cherry almond lotion like I did for Grandma in the evening after an all-day baking session.
But the joy on Marty’s and Nick’s faces and the “Mmmmm’s” that escape their lips between bites make it all worth it!
(and then I have to hurry up and freeze some or they would be gone quicker than it takes me to clean up the dishes!)
I also made some of my Jodi’s Almost Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies – a perennial favorite around here…
…as well as some with dried blueberries and white chocolate chips using the same recipe (another of Marty’s faves).
And it wouldn’t be Christmas without some Peanut Butter Blossoms…
And gotta have some Pittsburgh Thumbprint cookies too. I made a batch with chocolate fudge and another with colorful sprinkles and green icing centers.
Here is the recipe I use for the Apricot Kolaches.
2 8-oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
2 cups (4 sticks) butter, softened
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups apricot preserves or apricot filling (I use Baker’s)
1 Egg, beaten
Confectioner’s (Powdered) Sugar, for dusting
Beat cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed of stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn mixer on low, and gradually mix in the flour until a smooth dough forms.
Knead dough on lightly floured work surface, and gently form a ball. Divide dough into fourths, flatten, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line cookie sheet or baking stone with parchment paper. Working with one piece of dough at a time (after bringing back to room temperature from refrigeration), roll out to approximately 1/8 inch thick rectangle. Trim edges and cut dough into 2 inch squares.
Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of apricot filling into the center of each square.
Fold one corner into the center, dab with the beaten egg, then bring the opposite corner into the center and press firmly to seal.
Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet, and bake for approximately 10 minutes.
Dust with confectioner’s sugar and cool on wire rack.
These cookies freeze well, and thaw quickly.
This recipe makes about a million …. or at least feels like it when you are making them! 🙂
I hope you and your family will try these and enjoy them as much as we do.
Cheers & Sweet Hugs,