I find myself in the kitchen, puttering around and measuring out cups of flour for a lot of different reasons… but I find myself leveling sugar and cracking eggs most when I’m hurt. Most people don’t realize the number of cookies and pies that I ease on to my counter is directly correlated to my happiness. It’s my way of healing myself… I put things together and make things whole and beautiful when I feel everything but. This summer has been a tough one, filled with lots of traveling and baking. Lots of baking. I have made hundreds of cookies, stewed pounds of fruit into jams and jellies, and whipped hundreds of eggs. So when a friend mentioned his grandmother used to make these cream cheese cookies that were light, flaky and dusted with snow white sugar I just had to try them.
I did a little research, and turns out the cookie he is talking about is “kolaczki.” The exact origins of the cookie is not known, but many countries claim it as their own and have their own variations. I only had a block of cream cheese and three boxes of butter in my refrigerator, so naturally I picked the easiest recipe that I had the ingredients for.
Instead of doing the traditional fruit filling, I rolled the dough into layers to enhance the flakiness and omitted the sugar and opted for almond paste. I took a tube of almost paste, dusted it with sugar and rolled it out thin. I sandwiched the thin almond paste between two layers of the kolaczki dough and cut scalloped circles dusted with raw sugar crystals. The result? A light cookie with a sweet almond layer, almost like a lighter and smaller almond croissant.
Kolaczki (Kaprise kitchen style)
- 8 oz of cream cheese (I used Lucerne neufchatel cheese)
- 12 oz of butter (3 sticks)
- 3 cups of sifted all purpose flour
- 7 oz of almond paste
- Let the cream cheese and butter soften at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy
- Add 1/4 cup increments of flour, blending well. The dough will be very soft.
- Turn out on a lightly floured surface and shape into a square. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
- After the dough has rested, roll out the almond paste and set aside.
- Roll out the dough into 1/4 inch thickness. Place the almond paste between two layers and roll once to adhere the layers.
- Cut cookies out of the dough. Re-roll as necessary.
- Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes.