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LAist Cookie Exchange: Kolacky

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My mother has been making these Central/Eastern European influenced cookies since before I was born. Every Christmas, we have these delicious powdered sugared, jam filled treats.

It turns out, the dessert is also interchangeably a cookie and/or a pastry and has quite an old and varied history:

The oldest ritual leavened loaf which came into being soon after the Slavs embraced Christianity is shaped in a round, ring or like a cart and is called kolach in Bulgarian and Macedonian or kolac in Serbo-Croat and Slovenian, from the old Slavonic word for wheel, kolo. The term has been disseminated far beyond the Slavic languages; it has becom kulac or kullac in Albanian, kakacs in Hungarian, extended further to mean all types of breads, cakes and yeast cakes. Leavened bread, made from the finest flour, is used by the Orthodox Church for communion.[The Melting Pot: Balkan Food and Cookery by Jaria Kaneva-Johnson via FoodTimeline.org]
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In Texas, where there are some Czech communities, there is even a Kolache Festival. Maybe we can all go down and enter after we practice with the recipe after the jump!

Kolacky

4 cups of flour
4 sticks of margarine
11 ounces cream cheese (1 8-oz package of cream cheese, plus one 3-oz package)
3/4 teaspoon Vanilla.
Jam*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix the above ingredients together by hand. Roll out dough (not too thin).
With the end of a small glass, cut the dough into circles.
Keep rolling and cutting out the dough until the dough is gone.
Make a small indentation in middle of the cookie with your finger.
Fill the indentation with jam. Now, put Jam,(not Jelly) in the middle of the cookie.
Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes. Check during baking to make sure the bottom of the cookie is not getting too brown.
When cookies are cool, put 2-3 cookies in a bag filled with powdered sugar. Shake gently until well coated.
The cookies can be put in a covered plastic containers for several days. I keep them refrigerated after 2-3 days. You can also freeze the cookies for a couple of months.

*Use only real jam. Do not use jelly. My mom uses several different jams when she makes these cookies - Apricot, Strawberry, and Blackberry. When I cooked these yesterday, I used Mango and Blackberry. The Mango was perfect. The Blackberry was just okay.

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Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist