Try these Polish kolaczki cookies for the Polish Christmas cookies of your dreams! Also known as Polish cream cheese cookies, the pasty has a lovely tangy flavor, thanks to the cream cheese and butter pastry. Perfect to pop onto holiday cookie trays this season. For other global Christmas treats, try these New Zealand roughs.
I soared through the frosty winter skies, and my sleigh was laden with gifts for children worldwide; I decided to make a special stop in Warsaw one Christmas Eve. The city was adorned with twinkling lights, and the spirit of the season filled the air. I couldn’t resist the temptation to witness the sights and scenes of this enchanting place.
As I ventured through the snow-covered streets, I stumbled upon a bustling Christmas market. Stalls adorned with colorful ornaments and handmade crafts enticed the passersby. The aroma of warm mulled wine and roasted chestnuts mingled in the air. I found a little bakery tucked away in a corner, beckoning me closer.
Intrigued, I pushed open the bakery door, and the aroma of freshly baked pastries enveloped me. My eyes fell upon a tray of Polish kolaczki cookies, their delicate shapes and fruity fillings calling to me. I couldn’t resist taking a bite.
The pastry melted in my mouth, the buttery crust crumbling delicately as the sweet filling burst forth. The taste of the fruit preserves was a delightful blend of tanginess and sweetness, perfectly complementing the tender dough.
As I savored the Kolaczki, I noticed a child watching me with wide-eyed wonder. With a twinkle in my eye, I offered the child a taste, and their face lit up with joy. We shared a moment of pure delight, connecting through the magic of Christmas and the joy of this delectable treat.
How to make Polish kolaczi cookies (step-by-step)
Mix together the dry ingredients
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.
Prepare the butter, cream cheese and sugar
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and cream cheese until smooth and well combined.
Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract to the butter and cream cheese mixture. Mix until fully incorporated.
Add the flour to the wet ingredients
Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until a soft dough forms. Divide the dough into two equal portions and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm.
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C)—line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Take one portion of the dough out of the refrigerator. Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
Cut out the cookie dough
Use a cookie cutter or a glass to cut out rounds or squares from the rolled-out dough. Place the cut-out dough pieces on the prepared baking sheets, leaving a little space between each one.
Fill the cookies with fruit filling and fold
Spoon a small amount (about 1/2 teaspoon) of fruit preserves or pie filling into the center of each piece of dough.
Fold the corners or edges of the dough over the filling, pinching them together to create a triangle, square, or other shape. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Bake the cookies
Bake the cookies in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden.
Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the cookies are completely cooled, dust them with powdered sugar.
- To avoid the pinched sections opening up while they bake (this can happen), chill the preformed kolaczki, for a second time, before popping them into the oven. If some of them open up, you can pinch them closed again as soon as they are out of the oven.
- Don’t overfill them with fruit filling. Overfilling them can cause them to leak and get messy.
Ingredient and Substitutions
All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour is commonly used in the traditional Polish kolaczki recipe. It provides a good balance of texture and structure for the dough.
Salt: Salt is used to enhance the flavor of the dough. It helps to balance the sweetness and bring out the other flavors in the recipe.
Unsalted butter, softened: Unsalted butter is the preferred choice for this recipe because it allows you to control the salt in the cookies. Softened butter blends well with the other ingredients, making smooth dough. If you only have salted butter on hand, you can use it, but make sure to reduce the amount of salt called for in the recipe to maintain the right balance of flavors.
Cream cheese, softened: Cream cheese adds richness and a slightly tangy flavor to the dough. It also contributes to the tender texture of the Polish kolaczki cookies. If you don’t have cream cheese, you can substitute an equal amount of sour cream or Greek yogurt. Keep in mind that the flavor and texture of the cookies may be slightly different.
Powdered sugar: Powdered sugar is used in the dough to provide sweetness and a light texture. It also adds a delicate sweetness when dusted on the baked cookies. You can blend granulated sugar in a food processor to make homemade powdered sugar.
Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract adds a warm and aromatic flavor to the dough, enhancing the overall taste of the cookies. Depending on your preference, you can substitute vanilla extract with other extracts, such as almond or lemon.
Fruit preserves or pie filling: Traditional Polish kolacky cookies are filled with various fruit preserves or pie fillings, such as raspberry, apricot, or prune. These fillings provide a burst of fruity flavor to the cookies. I used both preserved cherriesand orange marmalade.
Room temperature: Once the Polish Kolaczki cookies have completely cooled, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Ensure the container is tightly sealed to prevent air and moisture from getting in.
Layer separation: To prevent the Polish kolaczki cookies from sticking together, you can place a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper between the layers of cookies in the container. This will help maintain their shape and make it easier to separate them when serving.
Shelf Life: Polish Kolaczki cookies can typically be stored at room temperature for up to a week. However, their freshness and quality may vary depending on the ingredients and fillings used. Consuming them within the first few days is best for optimal taste and texture.
Refrigeration: You can store the Kolaczki in the refrigerator to prolong their shelf life. Place them in an airtight container or resealable bag and store them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Freezing: Polish Kolaczki can be frozen for longer-term storage. Once the Polish Kolackzi cookies have cooled completely, place them in a freezer-safe or resealable bag. Make sure to separate the layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking. They can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.
Thawing: When ready to enjoy the frozen Kolaczki, remove them from the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour. They should return to their original texture and taste.
History of Polish kolaczki cookies
Polish kolaczki cookies, also known as Kolaczki or Kolacky, are delightful pastries with a rich history and a beloved place in Polish cuisine. These sweet treats originated in Poland and have become popular not only within Polish communities but also around the world.
The exact origin of Kolaczki is somewhat elusive, as they have been part of Polish culinary tradition for centuries. The name “Kolaczki” is derived from the Polish word “kołacz,” which refers to a round, flat cake or pastry. It is believed that Kolaczki have their roots in medieval Poland, where they were prepared as festive treats for special occasions and celebrations.
Originally, Kolaczki were made with a yeasted dough filled with sweet ingredients such as dried fruits, nuts, or honey. The dough was often shaped into intricate and decorative designs, reflecting the artistic skills of the bakers. Over time, the recipe evolved, and the yeasted dough was replaced with a more tender and delicate pastry dough, similar to a shortbread or cream cheese dough.
The fillings used in Kolaczki vary, ranging from fruit preserves such as raspberry, apricot, or prune to sweet cheese, poppy seed, or even chocolate. Each filling adds its own unique flavor and texture to the pastry, creating a delightful assortment of taste combinations.
Polish Kolaczki are cherished for their tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture and the harmonious balance of sweet pastry and flavorful fillings. They are often enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee and are perfect for sharing with family and friends during festive gatherings or as a simple indulgence.
Polish Kolaczki cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp Your favorite fruit preserves or pie filling such as raspberry, apricot, or prune
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and cream cheese until smooth and well combined.1 cup unsalted butter, 8 ounces cream cheese
- Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract to the butter and cream cheese mixture. Mix until fully incorporated.1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until a soft dough forms. Divide the dough into two equal portions and wrap each portion in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm.
- Preheat your oven to 375 °F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Take one portion of the dough out of the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness.
- Use a cookie cutter or a glass to cut out rounds or squares from the rolled-out dough. Place the cut-out dough pieces on the prepared baking sheets, leaving a little space between each one.
- Spoon a small amount (about 1/2 teaspoon) of fruit preserves or pie filling into the center of each piece of dough.4 tbsp Your favorite fruit preserves or pie filling
- Fold the corners or edges of the dough over the filling, pinching them together to create a triangle, square, or other shape. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
- Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the cookies are completely cooled, dust them with powdered sugar.Powdered sugar
- Repeat the process with the remaining portion of dough and filling.
- Serve the Polish Kolaczki Christmas cookies and enjoy!