Sunday, November 19, 2023

Kolacky Cookies - A Coal Cracker In The Kitchen Recipe


Printable Version at the bottom of the page

A classic staple often found on cookie trays during the Christmas season, not only in the Coal Region but beyond, these are so simple to make you don’t have to wait for December to roll around. Tender, flaky kolacky cookies go by a few names - kolaczki, kolachy, kolack - and can be found throughout Eastern Europe.

· 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
· 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
· 1 cup all-purpose flour
· 1/2 cup fruit jam, preserves, or filling the flavor of your choice
· 1/3 cup powdered sugar, for decoration plus extra for dusting work space

Soften salted butter and cream cheese to room temperature. In mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese together, add in flour gradually and mix with wooden spoon into smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 2 hours or overnight.

Roll out to a rectangle 1/8 inch thick on board generously dusted with powdered sugar.

Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares, place about 1/2 teaspoon filling of your choice directly in center of square and fold two opposite edges or sides of dough together on the top, press lightly to seal points together. Don’t over-fill or the filling will cook out.

Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment or silicone baking liners. Bake 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned,

Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Walnut Filling:  3/4 pound walnuts, chopped very fine, 1/4 cup granulated sugar,  scalded milk, enough to bind and make spreadable paste.  Grind nuts with 2 Tablespoons sugar in food processor until very fine (helps keep nuts from turning into paste while processing). Place in small bowl and mix in remaining sugar. Scald milk then add slowly just enough to make a spreadable paste. Cool or store in refrigerator until using.

Lekvar (Prune) Filling:  1 1/2 cups pitted prunes, tightly packed, 2/3 cup water,  1 teaspoon lemon zest, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/3 cup brown sugar.  Simmer all ingredients except brown sugar in covered saucepan for 25-30 minutes until very soft and most of the water is evaporated Uncover last few minutes if necessary to remove water. Remove from heat and mash. Stir in brown sugar. Cool or store in refrigerator until using.

Apricot or Peach Filling:  1 1/2 cups dried fruit, 1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar depending on fruit used, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 teaspoon almond extract. Place fruit in medium saucepan and cover with water to about an inch over the fruit. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer for 35- 45 minutes until very tender. Remove from heat and mash until fruit is smooth. Add cinnamon and vanilla. Add sugar from 1/2 to 3/4 cup to taste. Cool or store in refrigerator until using.

Sweet Cream Cheese Filling: 16 ounces cream cheese , 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 beaten egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, Pineapple Filling, 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, un-drained, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 pinch salt. Allow cream cheese to soften to room temperature. Mix all ingredients until well blended. Store in refrigerator until using.

Chocolate-Cherry Filling: 1 cup drained canned sweet cherries, 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped fine, 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped fine, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.  Finely chop drained cherries in food processor. Place in a bowl and add remaining ingredients, blend well. Store in refrigerator until using.

Poppyseed: 2 cups scalded whole milk, 1 pound ground poppy seed, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar.  Mix ingredients together and set aside till milk is absorbed and mixture is cooled. Store in refrigerator until using.



Lori Fogg was the author of the blog, “A Coalcraker In The Kitchen” where she shared recipes, and creative ideas based on her experiences growing up in the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania. Fogg died in 2022.

From her now archived blog:

What is a “Coalcracker” and what the heck are you doing in the kitchen?

“Coalcracker“: Affectionate term for a resident of Northeastern Pennsylvania, but particularly of the Anthracite (coal) Region (Scranton to the Lehigh Valley to Schuylkill County).

With the expansion of the mining and railroad industries. English, Welsh, Irish and German (the “Dutch” (Deutsch) in Pennsylvania Dutch) immigrants formed a large portion of the population, followed by Polish, Slovak, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Italian, Russian and Lithuanian immigrants.

The influence of these immigrant populations is still strongly felt in the region, with various towns 
pronounced ethnic characters and cuisine. Throw in some influence from the Pennsylvania Dutch of the Schuylkill County and Lehigh Valley areas and you have a sampling of Coal Region comfort foods!

The Coal Region is a historically important Anthracite (“hard coal”) coal-mining area in Northeastern Pennsylvania in the central Appalachian Mountains, comprising Lackawanna, Luzerne, Columbia, Carbon, Schuylkill, Northumberland, and the extreme northeast corner of Dauphin counties.
Her recipes can still, currently, be found using the WayBack Machine Internet Archive:

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'll read the comments and approve them to post as soon as I can! Thanks for stopping by!