This jam-filled kolaczki recipe is super simple to make and looks impressive on a dessert table. Plus, the melt-in-your-mouth treats only require six ingredients, so they’re pretty much one of the easiest cookies—ever.
When I was a kid, my grandma always served kolaczki after family dinners. I remember sneaking over to the plate to grab one… then two… then three more. To this day, the buttery, not-too-sweet pastry-style cookies still make me smile.
And, I can’t help but gobble them down by the handful.
What are Kolaczki Cookies?
Kolaczki (also spelled kolacky) are Polish cookies made with a cream cheese, butter, and flour-based dough. Then, the little cookies are wrapped around a dollop of jam, sweetened cream cheese, or a nutty filling, and baked until they’re perfectly set.
Though popular at family gatherings and special occasions, kolaczki make a delicious treat anytime you’re in the mood for a little something sweet. With jam, they’re a colorful addition to any dessert spread and make a great hostess gift, too.
Kolaczki Recipe FAQ
Q: What is the proper spelling, kolaczki or kolacky? And how do I pronounce it?
A: Most bakers commonly accept both “kolaczki” and “kolacky” as the proper spelling of the Polish cookie—and, both are already plural. Sometimes, you’ll see it written as kolachy, too. Either way, the pronunciation sounds like this: koh-latch-key.
Q: Is “kolache” another way to spell kolaczki/kolacky/kolachy?
A: No. Though similar in spelling and flavor, kolache is a Czech-based pastry made with a yeasted dough—it looks more like a bun than a cookie. Kolache get puffier than the cookie-like unleavened kolaczki base and have either sweet or savory fillings.
Q: What is the difference between a pastry and a cookie?
A: Well, this is a tricky one. Cookies have a few, identifying characteristics. They’re usually made of flour, sugar, fat, and eggs; formed, rolled, or cut into a small shape; and baked into a solid, flattish treat.
On the other hand, pastry generally refers to a baked confection with a flour and fat-based crust or dough. Think pie crust, tart shells, danishes, choux, etc. Pastries can be filled, layered, or coated with a variety of sweet or savory ingredients.
However, because they, too, contain flour and fat, experts do often consider cookies as a type of pastry. You can find cookies in pastry-shop windows and displays, so, it tracks!
Q: Should my kolaczki look golden brown when done baking?
A: Kolaczki dough doesn’t contain a lot of sugar, so it won’t turn very brown. Even when finished baking, classic kolaczki are quite pale. Don’t let the cookies turn golden brown, or they’ll overcook and taste dry.
Q: How do I keep the dough from unfolding when forming the cookies?
Use a little bit of water to make the dough stick—like glue! I keep a small bowl filled with water next to my workspace. Then, I fold the first corner of the dough over the middle, dip my finger in the water, and brush it gently on the “point.” Finally, fold the other edge over the wet spot and gently rub the dough to secure it.
How to Make Kolaczki Cookies
I developed this kolaczki recipe based on the classic, timeless cookie that generations of families have enjoyed! I carefully tested different variations of measurements and ingredients but aimed to stick closely to tried-and-true Kolaczki traditions. After all, why change perfection?
Recommended Tools for Kolacky:
- Silicone baking mat
- Rolling pin
- Smooth-edged pastry wheel
- Sifter (for flour and powdered sugar)
- Large baking sheet and cooling rack
In addition to the above list, grab your mixing bowl, a mixer with the beater attachment(s), measuring cups/spoons, and a smaller bowl. You’ll also need some parchment paper and plastic wrap or reusable, food-grade silicone wrap in which to chill the dough.
Apricot Jam Kolacky—Polish Kolaczki Cookies
- 1½ cups butter room temperature; use either salted or unsalted
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- ⅛ tsp salt scant; less if using salted butter
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar) more or less to taste; used for rolling and garnish
- 12 oz apricot jam use homemade or store-bought; substitute apricot for another flavor
Prep the Kolaczki Dough
- In a mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the softened cream cheese and softened butter until smooth—about 30 seconds or so.
- Then, add the vanilla and a pinch of salt and beat again until combined.
- Finally, add the flour and stir by hand until a dough forms.
- Split the dough into two portions, gently form them into flat brick shapes, and wrap each in a tight layer of plastic or silicone wrap.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least two hours, or for up to two days.
Assemble the Kolaczki
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350℉.
- Dust your work surface or silicone baking mat with powdered sugar.
- Unwrap one of the portions of dough. Roll it out to a thickness between ¼- and ⅛-inch. (At first, it helps to pound the block of dough out with the rolling pin, rotating every few smacks, until it starts to flatten. Then, roll from center, out, rotating and flipping every few rolls to avoid sticking.) Add more powdered sugar to the mat or dough as needed.
- Once the dough is rolled to thickness, use the pastry wheel to cut a grid of lines, each approximately two inches apart. Aim for four rows and 4 columns.
- Place a dollop of jam in the center of each full square. (Don't use any uneven edge pieces—yet.)
- Gently pick up each square piece of dough and fold one pointed edge over the center of the jam. Apply a dab of water to the pointed edge, then fold the opposite edge over top. Smooth with your thumb gently to adhere. Place onto the lined baking sheet.
- Repeat with the remaining jammed dough pieces.
- Gather the uneven, extra edge pieces into a ball. Roll and flatten the ball out, and cut more squares. Repeat the jam-filling and folding process.
- Repeat with the second portion of dough. (If you have only one baking sheet, you'll have to bake, then repeat the process. If you have two baking sheets, place the first, filled baking sheet in the fridge while you assemble the second sheet pan's worth of cookies.)
- Bake the kolaczki in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes. They'll look firm, but won't turn very golden brown. Cool for a few minutes, just until you can transfer them to a wire rack.
- Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
I hope you enjoy this kolaczki recipe as much as we did! I made these little cookies for the first time a few months ago for a bridal shower, and received so many compliments on them—even from people who claim not to enjoy sweets! Give ’em a try for yourself and see.
Want to try another authentic European treat? These Sicilian Cannoli taste like they came straight from Italy—and, the fresh ricotta filling is so good, I could eat it with a spoon.
If you love easy, quick cookie recipes as much as I do, you’ll adore these Pumpkin Butter Cake Cookies. The maple cream cheese frosting really seals the deal for me!
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