Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bohemian Kolachky--A Sweet Treat that's Perfect with Coffee or Tea!

The recipe I'm going to share with you today was given to me by a friend I've known for many, many years. We first met when he regularly bought 50-pound sacks of organic wheat berries that I sold, but our friendship blossomed when we started working for the same publishing company about ten years ago. We love to swap recipes and discuss the finer points of bread making.

He recently brought in a sample of Bohemian Kolachky and I was immediately hooked. This recipe is a stunner! If you've ever seen the movie "What About Bob," you'll understand when I say it brings to mind the hand-shucked corn-eating scene! It's so delicious you can't keep quiet. Lots of "m-m-m"-ing going on! I promptly asked for the recipe and he was gracious enough to give it to me. We can all be thankful for that.

Basically, Kolachky is a very rich outer layer (akin to a pie crust) that wraps around a sweetened walnut filling and is sprinkled with powdered sugar. It looks like this:

And it's made like this:

Bohemian Kolachky

It's worked in two stages, by the way. First you prepare the dough and then let it chill for about 8 hours. Then you make up the walnut filling and put the kolachkys together and bake them. And then, of course, you get to eat them...which is somewhat frustrating because you'll want to eat the entire batch, but they're so incredibly rich you can't eat more than a few at a time. (Drats!)

Pastry Dough

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
6 oz. cream cheese (that's 2/3 of a regular-sized box of cream cheese)

Mix all ingredients together with a fork or your hands. I started with a fork but quickly realized that my hands worked better. When it's ready, you'll be reminded of pie crust. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, making the shape either a ball or a log--doesn't matter, really. Chill for about 8 hours so it has time to meld.

Sweetened Walnut Filling

2 cups ground or finely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream

I used my old Universal grinder with the coarser blade to grind the walnuts and it was perfect:

Grind the walnuts and then mix together all of the filling ingredients.

Now you're going to prepare the Kolachkys for baking. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to come to about room temperature. (A little cooler than room temperature will work fine. The biggest problem is in trying to roll out the dough straight from the fridge--it won't roll thin and you'll just get frustrated, so let the dough sit for about an hour [or longer] on your kitchen counter.)

Divide the dough into three or four parts and roll each part out as thin as possible; about 1/8 inch thick will be perfect. Cut into 2-inch squares and place about 1/2-1 teaspoon of walnut filling in the middle of the square. Pinch two opposite corners together and place them fairly close together on an ungreased cookie sheet. I used my silicone baking mats, by the way.

Bake them at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes; they're done when the crust and filling have puffed slightly and the pastry has just begun to turn golden. Some people like their Kolachkys browner while others prefer them lighter and softer. I like mine with just a wee bit of golden delicious crunchiness.

When the Kolachkys have finished baking, turn them out onto a serving platter and allow them to cool slightly. Sprinkle them liberally with powdered sugar.

I learned some finer points when I made my first batch:

  • I found that my dough wanted to stick so I rolled it out on my marble block--which worked okay, but I still had sticking problems. Next I rolled out smaller portions on my silicone baking mats (because NOTHING sticks to those babies!) and that seemed to work better, although I still had to go slow and get them up using my scraper:

  • Allow the Kolachkys to cool enough so that when you sprinkle them with powdered sugar it doesn't melt.
  • Use a very small amount of walnut filling because it expands during baking.
  • Make sure you have a fresh pot of coffee or tea on hand because you'll definitely want to eat some as soon as they're out of the oven!
While this recipe takes some time to produce the finished product, it's most definitely worth the effort. And while they may not become an everyday standard because of all the work involved, you'll surely want to make them for special occasions or company dinners. They present beautifully and will be an instant hit!

As always, I pray that your days are rolling pleasantly along. And if times are currently hard for you, may I suggest that you get into the kitchen and have a bit of cooking therapy? It always works wonders for me!

Blessings to you and yours,

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