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

Combine the butter and cream cheese and beat them together until they’re light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt and stir until blended. Bring the dough together in a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for a minimum of an hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When you’re ready to shape the kolaczki, dust a rolling surface with powdered sugar. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll it out into a sheet about 1/4 inch thick (it will be stiff at first but be patient). With a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 2″ squares. Spread a small amount of filling in a stripe along the dough square diagonally, from corner to corner. Fold in the other two corners to make a sort of tube shape.

Lay the kolaczki on a cookie sheet and let them rest for half an hour to relax the gluten. Bake on a middle rack for about 15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove them to a rack. Dust them with powdered sugar and serve.

32 thoughts on “Kolaczki Recipe”

  1. I’m looking forward to this. I just bought a copy of Greg Patent’s book, “A Baker’s Odyssey,” which includes a lot of Central and Eastern European baked goods. (I’m mostly after his strudel recipe.) I look forward to going beyond rugelach and babka — there’s a whole world out there, thanks for taking us.

    1. It’s my pleasure to do what I can, Chana! I get so focused on France and Austria I frequently forget to steer the tour bus to other destinations of interest. I’ll try to make a more regular habit of it!

      – Joe

      1. Still you’re talking Austria, Joe. Consider the country’s borders at any given time before 1938.
        Anyway…. mmmmmmmmm…. Topfen-Golatschen! A staple at any Viennese bakery. Other fillings include poppyseed, walnuts, plums, pudding, jams, cremes, fruits (applied after baking). Quite common are also Powidl-Golatschen, with a filling of jam made out of dried plums (“Powidl”).

        Me hungry.

        1. I was thinking specifically of Vienna when I wrote that, but you’re so right, Tom. I’m terribly imprecise! 😉

          Yes, Topfen-Golatschen are the Viennese version of Kolache (Golatschen, kolaczki…they even sound about the same). And darn good they are there, too!

          Nice to hear from you! How was the pastry-eating trip?

          1. My trip to the south of France in June was awesome, as were the Boulangeries in the town of Montpellier. There are not as many as in Nice, but I discovered:

            1) Fougasse d’Aigues Mortes (a super-soft round flat brioche, brushed with orange-flower water after baking and dipped in plain sugar)… sooo good 🙂

            2) Gateau Diplomate (which seems to be more of a steamed pudding with lots of dry fruits and nuts, not a baked cake)

            3) Pissaladiere (a pizza sans tomato with *lots* of onions and anchovis really, typical for the Cote d’Azur)

            Anyways, for all things bakery Nice is the place to go, Montpellier is a bit behind… one really has to look out for good Boulangeries. Nice on the other hand is not that beautiful and hip, but as far as bakeries are concerned, top-notch.

          2. Fascinating. I’m about to embark on a big savory pastry crusade, maybe a pissaladiere should be part of it. Thanks Tom!

  2. I tried this recipe today, and I’m loving them as far as taste is concerned. But no matter what I do, I can’t get them to stay closed. The squares of dough just open as soon as I get them in the oven. I’ve tried varying the thickness of the rolled dough and adding less filling. I even tried using an egg wash on the corners I was pinching together (which I’m sure is probably breaking some kind of rule, but it was worth a shot). Even still, only two in the whole batch baked in the correct shape. I’m happy to have them to eat since they still taste good, but I’d love to be able to make them look nice too. Any suggestions?

    1. My feeling is that activated gluten is the problem. Try letting the sit a bit longer after they’ve been shaped. That should help related the dough. But let me know!

      – Joe

      1. Hi Joe!
        I know it’s been two and a half years, but I wanted to update you and let you know that I finally reattempted this recipe and had success. The key was definitely letting the gluten relax before baking. Thanks for a great recipe and the helpful advice! They came out great and were well worth the wait.

        1. Hey Lauren!

          I remember you and am very glad they finally worked out. Great news!

          Thanks for checking back in, since I’m always curious to know how projects turn out!


          – Joe

  3. Its the gluten! Your advice about letting them sit before baking is right on. Works for me. Its also a good idea to not overwork the dough when putting them together as the gluten gets all activated and aggravates the situation. Use small amounts of dough in batches and work gingerly.

    1. Victory! Great to hear it, S.W.! The world needs more relaxed kolczki. Thanks for the note! 😉

      – Joe

  4. This recipe is perfect!…however i can’t keep the jelly in the cookie while it’s in the oven… Any helpful tips we can try

    1. Hey Maggie!

      Glad they’re working for you more or less. Thicker jams will run less than jellies or thin jams…the more fruit pieces the better. You could try stirring in a little corn starch as well to help thicken the jam a bit.

      Keep me informed!

      – Joe

    2. To stop the filling from bubbling out … use pastry filling instead! It comes in all fruits and even cram cheese and coconut. Most baking supply shops sell it and it isn’t expensive. It doesn’t thin out, it actually sets up … I use it for Shortbread thumbprints and turnovers.

  5. Just made these for the first time — ohmyheart! They are divine. Thank you! I had some of my own peach preserves and Trader Joes FIG BUTTER in my fridge. LOVED the fig flavor with these light, flaky cookies and it’s thick so no oozing.

    Happy Holidays!

  6. I’d like to try to make these as round cookies rather than flat and folded. Do you have any recommendations or have you made them flat with an indent on top for the jam?

    1. Hi Amy!

      I haven’t made them that way, but there’s no reason they won’t work!

      Have fun!

      – Joe

    2. Hi Amy!

      I know it has been a bit of time since your post, but thought I’d respond since I prefer to make mine as circles as well. I do a simple thumb imprint in the middle of my cookie to help keep the filling from going over the edges. I still usually have a few “casualties” so my mom and I use those for “quality control” as we go. They still taste amazing, just not all neat and perfect in the middle like I like. My grandma just preferred them round, so she passed it down that way to me. Hope this helps!

  7. I just made these yesterday for the first time, they all unfolded but were still delicious! I wish I had read the tips first and let them set a bit before baking. I will definitely make them again and let them rest. Thanks for sharing the recipe…and the tips!

    1. Hey Deb!

      The nice thing about having to do something over is that you get double the goodies. Thanks for the note and have fun with the next batch!

      – Joe

      1. I made these a second time, let them rest 5 minutes or so on the baking sheets before baking them…they came out perfect. I just made another batch of dough, will make them again tomorrow. Our neighbors love them and want the recipe. Yum.

  8. Terrific recipe with very helpful information. It took me a couple batches to get them to stay closed and I found that the thickness (or rather thinness) was the most important factor. I also found that flattening the sides a little helped create a seam that kept them closed better. I also found that you can take them out and gently recluse them with a spatula and if they cool that way they’ll at least look closed.

    1. Good to know, Sue! Thanks for the information. And yes, rolling the dough thin also makes a difference, well put. I appreciate the comment!

      – Joe

  9. Hi Joe ! I am baking massive amounts of kolacky this holiday season and was wondering if the dough can be refrigerated for longer then 3 days? Also, is it possible to make, fill and freeze them, then bake them as needed? If so, would you defrost them first or cook them frozen. Just hoping to make things easier and not have to make some 40 dozen in one night. Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Lois!

      Yes I’d say you can get away with five days in the fridge. Freeze it if you need to keep it longer and thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Shaped, filled kolache can be frozen, but definitely freeze unbaked, then thaw them overnight in the fridge.


      – Joe

  10. When I was growing up (many years ago) Mom used to make these with 3 different fillings. One was apricot and I’m not sure of the other two. I think nut and maybe prune. What are the traditional fillings for Kolaczki?

    1. Hi Rich!

      I depends on who you ask! 😉

      If you check on the right side menus under “Pastry Components” you’ll find a sub-category called “bake-in fillings”. You can use most of those, but I’d say apricot and prune are go-to’s. Cheese is another staple of course, and I’d think poppyseed would have been popular in the Old Country as well!


      – Joe

  11. I just made these for the first time. The dough was great but the cookies opened up cooking. Next time I will let them rest before baking. Helpful hints here
    Thank you.

    1. You know Anna, I’ll make that clearer in the post. Sorry they didn’t work out on the first batch. But now you have an excuse for making them again!

      Cheers and thanks to the comment!

      – Joe

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