Nine days until Christmas. The giftmaking is coming along swimmingly with only a little fear that I’ll be wrapping something with needles still in. Since I don’t have any photos to show, I’ve decided to share an old family cookie recipe with you.
Growing up, my family had a small celebration on Czech Saint Nicholas day, Mikuláš (pronounced “MIK-a-losh”). Grandma would often send a big box of homemade treats, including rolacky nut horns, kolacky (puff pastry with a dollop of fruit), houska (sweet yeast bread sort of like challah), nuts, and fruit. I was thinking about Grandma’s cookie boxes recently, and decided to make kolacky for my company’s cookie swap! Here’s the recipe, in case you want to try something that tastes like my childhood.
Great-Grandmother’s Easy Kolacky (KO-latch-key, makes about 3 dozen, depending on cookie size)
1 package rapid-rise yeast
4 tbsp sour cream
1 egg yolk
2 cups flour
½ lb butter (2 sticks)
¼ tsp salt
1 can Solo fruit filling (prune or apricot are suggested. Solo fruit filling is found in the Baking Needs aisle of the grocery store, usually on the bottom shelf and possibly a little dusty. Grandma also would send poppy seed and cheese; I never liked poppy seed and didn’t remember cheese until my mom triggered my memory)
Powdered sugar for dusting
In a small bowl, mix the yeast, sour cream, and egg yolk until combined.
In the bowl of your food processor, pulse the flour, butter, and salt until combined. Alternatively, you could use a pastry cutter or a knife and chop until combined. If using a food processor, pour the butter/flour mixture into a big bowl. Add the yeast and sour cream and mix with your hands until you have a shaggy dough and all flour is incorporated. The mixture can be refrigerated for an hour if it gets sticky.
Roll dough out onto a well-floured surface to ¼ inch thick. Use a 1-2 inch glass to cut round cookies of dough and place on cookie sheet. Using your thumb or the back of a spoon, make an indent in the center of each cookie. Scoop a little fruit filling into the indent (½ to 1 tsp, depending on how big cookies you cut) and smear the filling a little.
Bake at 375 for 12 minutes; cookies will be a little golden brown on the bottom and will have poofed up a bit. Dust liberally with powdered sugar and enjoy!
I’ve also been reading a bunch while on the T (and getting really good at reading while standing on a moving train) and here’s my stack:
It’s nice to have time each day to read a little bit!