cookie

Eva’s Kolachy

Eva’s Kolachy

Over the years, I have shared many of my family recipes. This is another family recipe- but not my family. Tia Houpt found this recipe when going  through her Grandmother’s recipe collection. She was kind enough to share the recipe- and gave me permission to share it with you. Her grandmother was Eva Skero- so I have named the kolachy in Eva’s honor.

There is something special in having old family recipes. We find so many recipes online these days, we sometimes forget there was a time when recipes were handwritten. Often, they were stored in a drawer or in a shoe box. There is usually a mix of handwritten recipes and recipes cut out of newspapers and magazines.

Sometimes you just find a list of ingredients. Measurements aren’t always precise. A handful of this a pinch of that. The phrase moderately hot oven doesn’t real help, does it? And what exactly is a number 2 can? Still, there are some real gems in those collections.

This is one of those recipes.

I have made kolachy for years and have used the recipe for the crust that my mom used. I love my mom’s recipe. I love this recipe even more.

I was intrigued that the dough contains both baking powder and yeast. I had to make it, just to see what it was like.

The dough is tender and very easy to work with. It doesn’t get chilled. You just make the dough, then roll it out and make the cookies. I did let my butter soften a little before cutting it into the flour. I could see using cold butter instead.

The dough rolled out beautifully and baked up a perfect golden brown. I had to let them cool a bit before I could taste one. I am not kidding- they were heavenly. Tender and so flaky. Tia and I both see this as a very nice tart dough, too.

So here is Eva’s recipe. I hope you will give it a try. Thanks, Tia, for sharing it.

 

Eva’s Kolachy

 

Dough:

 

3 c. flour

1 t. baking powder

½ t. salt

1 c. butter*

3 eggs

2 pkts. Yeast

½ c. warm milk

Filling:

Assorted pie fillings, jams, sweetened cream cheese or ricotta cheese You will need about three cups of filling.

 

In mixing bowl, combine flour with baking powder and salt. Cut  butter into flour until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Set aside.  Place eggs in a small bowl and beat until smooth. In small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add to egg mixture and stir to combine. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until combined. If mixture is sticky add a small amount of flour. Roll dough out on floured board. Thinner the better, as this dough will puff some when baked. Cut into squares- or whatever shape you like. I did 2-inch squares. Place a spoonful of filling into center of each cookie. Fold up two of the corners and press firmly to seal. Fold over and press seam again. These like to pop open when baking, so the second fold over and pressing helps them to stay closed. Some people like to add a bit of egg wash or milk to the tops to help them seal better. I just squeeze together and fold twice.  Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet, about an inch apart. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cook on a rack. Dust cooled cookies with powdered sugar or with a powdered sugar glaze. Makes about 5-6 dozen.

*The original recipe called for shortening. Tia and  I both decided butter was better!! That is the only change we made to Eva’s original recipe.

Cooled and dusted with powdered sugar

 

This post is dedicated to Eva Skero and all the home cooks out there who lovingly kept their recipes for us to find.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

It is the time of year when a lot of people are baking cookies. I thought I would share one of my favorite cookie recipes with you. It takes the chocolate chip cookie to another level. Kind of dressed up for the holidays.

These little cookies are delicate and full of flavor. I will admit to being a big fan of shortbread cookies.I make a lot of different shortbread cookies for Christmas. This one is always on my list.

 

These are enhanced with mini chocolate chips and just melt in your mouth. I leave them as is, but you could add a drizzle of melted chocolate, if you like.

 

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

1 c. butter (no substitutions), softened
½ c. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
2 c. flour
¼ c. cornstarch
½ c. mini chocolate chips
2-3 T. granulated sugar
With electric mixer beat butter, brown sugar and vanilla until well mixed. Stir in flour and cornstarch and then stir in chips. Form into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheet. Pour granulated sugar on a small plate and dip bottom of drinking glass into the sugar and use this to gently flatten down the cookies. Press small indent in each cookie with a teaspoon. Bake in a preheated 300-degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cookies start to brown on the bottom. Cool on sheets 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Makes about 3 ½ dozen.

Cinnamon Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Cinnamon Pecan Shortbread

It seems I am always making variations on shortbread cookies. I love shortbread. I am not alone- so many friends have told me the same thing. There is something about the crumbly texture of shortbread that makes them a favorite for a lot of people.

This recipe is a classic shortbread, topped with cinnamon and pecans. They are really good. You just make a batch of dough, top with a cinnamon – pecan mixture, and bake. Could not be simpler.

As soon as they come out of the oven cut them into little strips. I got nearly 100 out of one batch. It depends on the size you cut them. If you are looking for a simple, yet wonderful cookie, you might want to try these.

 

  Cinnamon Pecan Shortbread Cookies

1 c. butter

1 c. sugar

1 egg, separated

2 c. flour

1 T. water

½ c. finely chopped pecans

2 t. cinnamon

 

Lightly grease jellyroll pan (10×15). Mix butter, sugar and egg yolk then stir in flour. Pat into pan. Beat egg white with water until frothy and spread over dough. Combine pecans and cinnamon. Sprinkle on nut mixture and bake in a 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cut immediately into tiny strips, makes 50- 100 .

Cream Wafers

Cream Wafer Cookies

Cream Wafers  are a little more work than most cookies, but they are worth it. They are the most requested cookies of all the ones I make. The secret is the dough, which contains no sugar. It is made from only three ingredients- flour, butter and heavy whipping cream.

When baked, they turn into flaky layers that melt in your mouth.  Seriously, if you want to really impress this holiday season, show up at a party with these cookies.

Cream wafers are coated in sugar before baking. You can use tinted sugar, if you like. Once baked and cooled, they are made into little sandwich cookies, using a buttercream frosting. You can also tint the frosting if you like.

Because they puff when baking and become thicker, and you are using two of them to make the sandwich cookie, be sure to roll them out pretty thin.

Here is the recipe. Hope you enjoy!!

 

Cream Wafers

1 c. butter
1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
2 c. flour
extra fine or granulated sugar
Frosting:
¼ c. butter, softened
¾ c. powdered sugar
1 T. milk
1 t. vanilla
food coloring, if desired

Mix butter, cream and flour well. Wrap and chill at least an hour. Roll chilled dough 1/8 inch thick on lightly floured board. Cut out into 1½ inch rounds or even little hearts or stars. Transfer cookies to a sheet of wax paper heavily coated with extra fine or granulated sugar and coat both sides. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and prick each cookie 4 times with a fork. Bake at 375-degrees 7-9 minutes until lightly browned and puffy. Cool on rack. Mix frosting ingredients. Put 2 cookies together with frosting to make “sandwiches”.

Lemon Meltaway Cookies

Lemon Meltaway Cookies

These cookies have a great lemon flavor and delicate texture. The cookie is so tender, in part, because there is cornstarch in the dough. I think you and your family and friends will love them as much as I do.

I will admit to adding a little more lemon zest to the dough and frosting, for even more lemon flavor.

They are also easy to make. They are a slice and bake cookie. That means you make the dough, form into a roll, and chill. Now you can just slice and bake when you have the time. I sometimes make a batch and freeze them- so I can make fresh cookies whenever I like.

We made these cookies in class last night. Everybody loved them. Perfect cookie to add to your holiday cookie tray.

 

 

Lemon Meltaways

Dough:
1 ¼ c. flour
¾ c. butter, softened
½ c. cornstarch
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. grated lemon peel
Frosting:
¾ c. powdered sugar
¼ c. butter, softened
1 t. lemon juice
1 t. grated lemon peel

In large bowl combine all dough ingredients and mix well. Divide dough in half and roll each half into an 8- inch roll. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm, 1-2 hours. Slice chilled dough into ¼ inch slices and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-12 minutes, or until cookies are set, but not brown. Cool completely on a rack. Combine frosting ingredients and beat until light and fluffy. Frost cooled cookies. Makes 4 dozen.

 

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

I never met a shortbread cookie I didn’t like. These are no exception.  With the addition of cocoa, you end up with a cookie that has the traditional delicate texture of shortbread, with the added bonus of a rich chocolate flavor.

They are great just plain, dusted with powdered sugar or, my favorite way, brushed with a little melted bittersweet chocolate. Simple, tasty and a nice treat for the chocolate lovers you love.

I used a heart shaped cookie cutter, but you can cut them out in seasonal shapes, too, like snowflakes or trees.

 

Chocolate Shortbread

1 c. butter, room temperature

3/4 c. sugar

2 c. flour

1/3 c. cocoa

1/4 t. salt

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

Beat together butter and sugar until well blended. Mix together dry ingredients and slowly beat into butter mixture, stirring it in at the end. Roll out dough about 1/4 inch thick and cut out with cookie cutters. Re-roll scraps and cut out the remaining dough. Place on an un-greased baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees until cookies are firm around the edges, about 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool.  Melt chocolate and dip cookies in it or use chocolate to hold 2 cookies together. Makes 2-3 dozen, depending on the size.

Alfajores Cookies

Alfajores Cookies

It is the time of year when many of us are baking cookies. I have certain cookies I make every year, but I always look for new recipes, too. I started making alfajores cookies a few years ago- and I really love them.

If you are looking for a new cookie recipe, you might want to try these. Made with cornstarch as a primary ingredient, they are very crispy and light. Sandwiched together with dulce de leche they make a wonderful dessert.

Alfajores cookies are popular in a number of South American countries and in Spain, although the origin is probably from the Middle East.

 

 

Alfajores Cookies

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. lemon rind, grated

1 1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Cream butter; add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well. Beat in vanilla and lemon rind. Sift together cornstarch, flour, baking powder and salt. Add to mixture and mix well. Drop batter by small spoonfuls onto well-buttered baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove immediately. Sandwich the cookies together with (dulce de leche) sweet milk dessert. Makes 40 cookies.

Dulce de Leche (Milk Jam)

This is the easiest way to make Dulce de Leche…the taste is pretty authentic and the work is almost completely eliminated!

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Place the can inside the pot on top of a wire rack. I use a round rack used for cooling cakes. If you don’t have a rack place a towel on the bottom of the pot. Add water to completely cover can, plus 1-2 more inches. Simmer for 4 hours, making sure the can is always completely covered with water…if not…there is an explosion!! Leave the can to cool several hours and only then open it and serve. Serve the golden-brown confection over flan, as a filling for crepes, cakes or just plain. For breakfast you can spread it on croissants, rolls or toast.

Russian Teacake Cookies

Russian Teacakes

I had a conversation with a childhood friend recently about these cookies. She remembered that my Mom used to make them, and she wondered if I still did. I still do make them. Wouldn’t seem like Christmas without them. Many of my favorite Christmas memories are about making cookies with my Mom.

I was about 7 or 8 years old when my mother showed me how to make Russian Teacakes. She sat me down at the kitchen table with the chilled dough. She showed me how to roll them into 1-inch balls. I sat there rolling one after the other while we listened to Christmas music.

Russian Teacakes, also known as Mexican Wedding Cakes, are a delicate, nut filled shortbread cookie coated in powdered sugar. The magic is created when the cookies, hot from the oven, are rolled in powdered sugar. Once cooled they are dusted with more powdered sugar. Whether you call them Russian Teacakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, or as another friend always refers to them, butter balls, these cookies are a must for my holiday cookie baking.

 

Russian Teacakes

1 c. butter
½ c. powdered sugar, plus extra for coating
1 t. vanilla
2 ¼ c. flour
¼ t. salt
¾ c. finely chopped nuts, nearly ground

Mix butter, ½ cup sugar and vanilla well. Stir flour and salt together and then add to butter mixture. Mix well and stir in nuts. Wrap dough and chill. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cookies should be lightly browned on the bottom. While still warm, roll cookies in powdered sugar. Dust again with sugar once cooled. Makes about 4 dozen.

Soft Butter Cookies

Soft Butter Cookies

If you are looking for a truly tender cookie, this may be it. These cookies are so delicate, they just melt in your mouth!! The secret ingredient might surprise you. It is oil. Yes, I know I said butter cookies – they also contain butter. But the combination of oil and butter makes them soft and delicate, even days after baking.

They also contain both granulated and powdered sugar. Not your typical cookie recipe, for sure.   This just may be my “go to” butter cookie recipe from now on.

I found a sheet of paper with the ingredients written on it. No directions, just ingredients listed and a notation about cooking time and oven temperature. I wish I knew where I got the recipe. I would certainly give the source credit. I did increase the amount of vanilla a little. You don’t have to chill the dough and they roll very easily, without sticking to your fingers. You could chill the dough, but let it warm up a little before rolling. The dough can also be made ahead and frozen- I tested it.

I dipped the tops of the raw cookies in sprinkles, but you could leave them plain and then roll in powder sugar, once baked and cooled, or drizzle with melted chocolate.

 

Soft Butter Cookies

1 c. butter

1 c. oil, I used avocado oil

1 c. sugar

1 c. powdered sugar

2 eggs

1 T. vanilla

1 t. baking soda

1 t. cream of tartar

½ t. salt

4 ½ c. flour

 

In mixing bowl, beat together butter, oil, sugars and vanilla. Once well blended, beat in eggs. Stir in the baking soda, cream of tartar and salt, then add the flour, mixing until well combined. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into one inch balls and press tops of cookies in sprinkles or colored sugar, if desired. Place one inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes, or until light golden on bottom. Leave cookies on baking sheets 3 minutes before placing on cooling rack. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Date Pinwheel Cookies

Date Pinwheel Cookies

I love the  sweetness of dates, and really enjoy using that natural sweetness in baking. I always seem to make several dishes with dates around the holidays.  These date filled cookies are one of my favorites. Moist and cake-like, with the wonderful flavor of the dates, nuts and citrus zest, these cookies taste even better than they look. The cookie dough, made with brown sugar, has an almost caramel-like flavor. The combination is a winner for sure.

 

Date Pinwheel Cookies

Date Filling

12 oz. pitted dates, chopped
1/3 c. brown sugar
¼ c. water
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
½ c. finely chopped nuts
Combine dates with all ingredients (except the nuts) in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in nuts.  Cool.

Dough
½ c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1¾ c. flour
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
In bowl combine butter and sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients and stir into butter mixture. Divide dough in half. Roll or pat one half of the dough into a rectangle about 7×11- inches in size. Spread with half of the cooled date filling. Starting at long end, roll dough up . Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Wrap rolls in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill in fridge several hours. This dough/roll is pretty soft. I sometimes put the rolls in the freezer for an hour or two before baking to make them easier to slice.
To make the cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the rolls into ¼ -inch slices and place an inch apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake about 12 minutes- or until cookies are a light golden color. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 5 dozen.