I try to always have a fresh batch of cookies in the cookie jar at home. (A plastic box counts as a cookie jar, right?) My kids come home hungry after school, after practices, after classes. They like having a little something sweet to help carry them through or to round the meal off after dinner. Not only that, I would rather bake cookies myself than have them eat prepackaged cookies that are mostly filler and preservatives.
That means I do a lot of experimenting with cookies. I love these great kolacky cookies: an Eastern European favorite that invites a few unique flavors and textures into our standard cookies. I’ve made them with several different types of preserves, and each time, I’ve found a new favorite. I have discovered, however, that thick preserve or filling works far better for these cookies than a runny one, which tends to slide off and make a mess in the oven.
The kids’ favorites were blackberry kolacky cookies, but my husband prefers the classic taste of apple: with a hint of cinnamon, it transforms an Eastern European favorite into something that strongly resembles the classic American apple pie. Feel free to experiment until you find the best combination for your cookies–or make a batch that includes several different types of fruit preserves. You can always use the leftovers to top biscuits for breakfast the next morning. Or make another batch of cookies!
- 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
- 1 8 oz package of cream cheese
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 egg yolk from a large egg
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups flour all-purpose works best, but you can also use cake flour or even mix in some whole wheat flour.
- Fruit preserves or filling
Beat together the butter, sugar, cream cheese, and milk. Continue beating until you get a light, fluffy texture, just like you’re looking for when you make the frosting. Beat in the egg yolk until fully combined. Mix in the flour and baking powder until fully combined.
Now comes the hard part: refrigerate for at least four hours. Ideally, you want to chill the dough overnight before you cook it.
The next day, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and pull out the dough. Roll it out to 1/4″ thick: I like to roll it between two sheets of parchment paper to get a smoother dough, but you can simply roll it out on the counter if you prefer. Cut out 2″ circles.
Place each pastry about 1″ apart on a greased cookie sheet. Use the back of a spoon or your finger to add a depression in the center of each cookie. Fill that space with your fruit preserves or filling. It’s tempting to be generous, but keep in mind that you don’t want to make a mess! Experiment until you find the perfect balance for your cookies.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on wire racks before transferring to a sealed box. These particular cookies don’t keep well in the cookie jar.