Well, the holidays are here and the only reason I know that is because buying crap is on everyone’s mind. There hasn’t really been a snowfall, I’ve only heard Christmas songs a little bit, and everyone is just kind of grumpy. There’s been a lot going on and very little of it has been cheery. This is where baking cookies comes in. Baking is more or less edible science, so it has that going for it. Also, it does help feel cheery. Now, I don’t bother with just any old cookies. I know it’s against all I stand for, but I just buy most cookies from the store. However, I absolutely refuse to buy kolacky from the store. My gran has made it since forever and I’m not spending $3 for 8 cookies that I can make about 6 boxes with around 20 cookies a piece for a few more dollars. We make a batch about once every 6 months. These babies keep, too. They just go in the freezer and wait till you drag them out, assuming they aren’t consumed immediately. This isn’t traditionally geeky either, but baking makes me geek out. I feel like a mad scientist creating some awesome thing that the whole world will thank me for creating. I promise that I don’t have a large ego, I’m just intense about baked goods.
There are a million and two recipes that all look similar, but yield different results. There are also many different forms of this treat that I’ve always believed to be Polish (because of my gran) but is apparently a general Eastern European thing. That probably explains the variants. Well, I’m going to add another variant into the mix. I don’t believe in family secrets. Even if you don’t use this recipe, I’ll still share a huge secret that a brilliant woman once told my mother. She said that you can use any recipe at all, the way to make it perfect is to double all the ingredients. Truth be told, I’ve found that this does more than just make a larger quantity. It just seems to make things mix better, but what do I know? It’s possible I just love food.
- 1 lb. butter, room temperature
- 1 lb. cream cheese, room temperature
- 5 cups flour
- 2tbs. powdered sugar
- whatever preserves, jam, or filling you like. I use about a little more than two cans of filling.
- 2 crushed graham crackers
The filling has to be moderately thick. The graham crackers are used for that purpose. You could just use a thick filling like prune or almond paste or use a bit of flour instead of the crackers. Graham crackers just taste better to me.
- Mix the butter and the cream cheese together to form a consistent, creamy mixture. It should be evenly mixed. I used an immersion blender, but a regular blender or mixer should do. Whatever gets the job done.
- Put in the powdered sugar and one of the cups of flour and start mixing. I did this mostly by hand. Slowly add the rest of the flour to make the dough. Keep adding and kneading till you get one large dough ball.
- Pop the dough into the fridge overnight. Take it out of the fridge a few hours before you actually start rolling it out so that it can soften a bit. If you don’t, you might as well break out some chisels because that thing will be a horror to separate.
- Mix together the filling and the graham crackers
- Roll out some the dough into a flat sheet.
- Cut the sheet into squares that are no smaller than an inch, otherwise they won’t fold. You can use a knife or a pizza cutter for cutting the squares.
- Fill each square with a glob of filling. If you fill it too much, the filling will leak out.
- Take the opposite corners of the square and pinch them together, wrapping the filling in.
- Place the cookies on a cookie sheet that was lightly dusted with a non-stick spray.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes or until the dough is lightly browned.
- Let them cool a bit. If you want, and who wouldn’t, dust some powdered sugar on top of the cookies in order to properly finish them.
I hope that all makes sense. I’ve never done a recipe before and this is more or less from memory. Everything is muscle memory so I don’t think about anything too much. This is already doubled, so if you want to do it again, you can, but it isn’t necessary. What’s given is enough to satisfy gifts for a number of households or you could just freeze the extra and have them for as long you want. These are some glamor shots of the recent batch. If these don’t encourage you to make them, I don’t know what will.