You’re going to love this recipe for traditional Polish Kolaczki cookies – perfect for easy Christmas baking! I love making them during the holidays with different colored filling variations. These sweet and delicate cream cheese cookies are just as pretty to look at as they are delicious to eat!
Can you believe it’s already the time of year again to start thinking about Christmas baking? Even just a little bit. I swear, I have Christmas cookies on my mind as soon as the first signs of the holidays pop up in the stores.
Today, I want to share with you a recipe for traditional Polish cookies, a.k.a. Kolaczki. These cookies are a cream cheese pastry-cookie hybrid, filled with strawberry preserves, and look absolutely beautiful on a Christmas cookie platter. You can really use any filling or preserves you like, but the point is: you need to try these cookies!
Why I Love These Cookies for Christmas
I’m a fan of a great homemade Christmas cookie – and Kolaczki are especially suitable for holiday cookie trays thanks to their bright and customizable filling! The contrast of crisp light cookies filled with fruit preserves in a variety of colors, sprinkled with powdered sugar, is really eye-catching at parties. They’re like little bundles of snow-dusted Christmas joy, and I love it.
What Are Kolaczki?
Kolaczki is a traditional Polish cookie recipe that is super popular not only in Poland, but also in the Nordic countries, many parts of Eastern Europe, as well as in Russia. These cookies are made from a pastry-like, cream cheese dough folded over a variety of fillings, from fruit jams and Polish preserves to nuts and seeds.
Here is the short list of ingredients you’ll need for these simple (and oh-so-lovely) Polish cookies:
Cream Cheese: Brought to room temperature.
Butter: Also at room temperature.
Fruit Preserves: For this recipe I use strawberry preserves as filling, but you can use any jams or preserves your heart desires!
All Purpose Flour
How to Make Kolaczki Cookies
Despite how elegant they look when folded and golden, Kolaczki cookies are actually very uncomplicated to bake! I use a stand mixer to combine the dough ingredients, but you can also use a wooden spoon and some elbow grease as needed. Here’s how to make traditional Polish Kolaczki:
Prepare the Cookie Dough: First, you’ll need to prepare the cream cheese pastry dough and place it in the fridge to chill.
Divide and Cut the Dough Squares: Once you remove the dough from the refrigerator, divide it into four equal parts. Working in batches, begin by rolling out each of the dough sections into a single thin rectangle, and then cut the dough into 2 x 2 inch squares.
Fill and Fold: Place a teaspoon or so of filling into the center of the dough squares, then gently fold the diagonal corners one over another and pinch the dough into place. Repeat this process with the remaining dough.
Bake: Place the cookies onto a prepared baking sheet and bake them in a preheated oven until they’re lightly golden. Finally, transfer them to a wire rack and let them cool completely before dusting them with powdered sugar.
You can fill these cookies with any preferred choice of fruit preserves or nut filling. Just about anything goes! Here are some suggestions for Kolaczki filling variations:
Stop Kolaczki From Opening While Baking: If you find that some of the folded cookies are “blooming” open while in the oven, there are a couple of tricks you can try. First, make sure that the dough is rolled thin enough, no thicker than a quarter inch, for the best results when baking. I’ve also found that letting the wrapped cookies rest for a half hour or so before placing them in the oven can help to prevent any unfolding.
If the Filling is Leaking During Baking: Fillings that contain corn syrup actually have a lesser chance of leaking while the cookies bake. Otherwise, try to use dry fruit filling where you can, and be mindful that some jams and preserves may leak a bit more than others! These cookies will still be delicious in any case.
How to Store These Cookies
The best way to store homemade cookies is by letting them cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container or resealable bag. Kolaczki cookies will stay fresh at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Can I Freeze Them?
Baked Kolaczki cookies freeze really well; store them sealed tightly or in a freezer safe container for up to 30 days. If your cookies need a bit of reviving after they’ve been defrosted, you can place the thawed cookies in the oven on low heat to crisp up a bit before serving.
Kolaczki cookie dough can be wrapped tightly and stored frozen for up to 3 months, then thawed overnight in the fridge.
Homemade Polish Kolaczki cookies are perfect for easy holiday baking! These delicate and festive cream cheese cookies are filled with sweet fruit preserves and look beautiful on a Christmas cookie tray.
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup strawberry preserves
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Prep and chill the dough:
Cream butter and sugar. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add flour. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the flour, mixing until just combined.
Remove the dough from the bowl and flatten into a disk shape. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill the dough for 2 hours, or overnight.
Assemble and bake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into 4 equal parts. Working in batches, using a rolling pin, roll each dough out into a thin rectangle about 1/2- centimeter thick. Using a wheel pastry cutter, knife, or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 2- inch squares.
Fill a small bowl with water and set aside.
Spread 1/2 teaspoon of the preserves into the center of the dough squares. Using your fingers, wet two diagonal corners of the dough and fold over the top of each other, pinching the dough together to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake. Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet 1 1/2- inches apart and bake for 12- 13 minutes until lightly golden.
Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. When the cookies are cooled, sprinkle them with powdered sugar. You can use as much or as little as you like.
You can use any type of preserves you like. My family likes strawberry, but apricot or raspberry are great too. Store airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days.
These cookies freeze well. Store them airtight in the freezer for up to 30 days for best freshness.