Making Kolacky

I been makin’ kolatch-kee for forty five years…was the mad refrain of a retired ninety-something baker who lived next door to a high school buddy of mine. Back then, as a cocky teenager hanging around in Riverside, Illinois, I thought it was pathetic. Nowadays I can imagine many far less pleasant things to have spinning around in my senile old brain. As a middle-aged man who appreciates a good kolache, I look back on that guy as sorta lucky. I don’t know what he would have thought of these. My guess is he’d have taken one look, waved his hand dismissively and walked the other way. That’s what makes guys like that great.


Kolacky Recipe

This is how I remember the spelling in many of the Czech bakeries along Cermak Road. There, kolaches were usually round and puffy, made from a yeast dough instead of a short crust. The ingredients are:

12 ounces (1 1/2) cups warm milk
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) melted butter
2 egg yolks
2.5 ounces (generous 1/3 cup) cup sugar
17.5 ounces (3 1/2 cups) flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or mace
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast


Making Kolaczki

These cookie-like kolaczki — which in my understanding are a Polish version — are some of the easiest of the breed: essentially a cream cheese pie crust tube full of jam. Make yours by combining the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl or in the bowl of a mixer.


Kolaczki Recipe

Wait, you spelled the word differently in this post. Yes, that’s right. It’s the Polish spelling (or so I understand) because this is the Polish version. Or at least it’s the Chicago Polish version. Or one of them at any rate. Polish kolaczki are envelope-like cookies, made with a cream cheese short crust and jam. To make them you’ll need:

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
7.5 ounces (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
pinch salt
about twelve total ounces of filling(s) of your choice
powdered sugar for dusting