Polish Kolaczki Apricot Filled Cookies (Gluten Free)
These Polish Kolaczki Apricot Filled Cookies are a traditional Christmas favorite that combine a light and flaky pastry wrapped around a homemade naturally sweetened apricot filling.
When I first came across these Polish Kolaczki Apricot Filled Cookies I knew that I would have to include them in my “Cook Around The World For Christmas” series. Just looking a photo of them I already knew that they would be a favorite of mine and boy was I right.
What I love about these cookies is that they actually use very few ingredients and are really easy to make. While the dough for the pastry does require overnight chilling, the process of making the dough and the apricot filling really does come together quickly.
This Polish kolaczki cookie recipe uses a cream cheese dough that will result in a buttery, flaky pastry and can be filled really with any filling you desire. When researching the history of kolaczki cookies I found that, like sugar cookies in Western Europe, most Eastern European countries have some version of these kolaczki cookies with many different names from kolaczki to kolaci and many more.
For this recipe, I opted to go with the popular apricot filling, which I saw over and over again when researching this recipe. But I also think that a thick berry compote or a sweet cream cheese filling would also be absolutely delicious.
If you do decide to use a jam, make sure you put just a small teaspoon in the center of the cookies as the jam will get much thinner and spread as the cookies are baking. I found when I used the apricot filling though that they didn’t run nearly as much as the jam did.
To make these Kolaczki Apricot Filling Cookies in a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Then slowly add the flour and salt to the mixer until well blended and a dough forms. Once a dough has formed remove the dough from the mixing bowl and roll it into a ball. Next, wrap the dough in parchment paper and chill the dough overnight in the refrigerator (or for a minimum of 1 hour).
While the dough is chilling make the apricot filling by combining apricots, 2 cups of water, honey, and lemon juice in a small pot over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and then allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring consistently until apricots are soft.The goal is to get the apricots to soften so that they can easily be blended using a food processor. Once the apricots have softened you can place the mixture in a food processor and pulse until a thick apricot jam/paste forms. Pour the filling into a jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Once the dough has chilled and your apricot filling is made it is time to make these cookies. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and then on a clean surface place some gluten free flour (to keep the dough from sticking) and then place the dough in the center. Knead the dough with your hands a few times to make it a little more malleable, and easier to work with.
Begin to roll out the dough using a rolling pin until it is about a 1/4 inch thick. Next, cut out the dough into 2 inch squares using a cookie cutter or simply a knife and ruler. Repeat this process until all of your dough has been used. Once all your squares have been cut, begin to place them on a cookie sheet and drop 1 teaspoon of filling into the center of each square. Fold the opposite corners of each square to meet one another and envelope the filling. Piece the fold slightly to secure each cookie and then place in the oven for 12-14 minutes.
Once the cookies have baked they will still seem a little soft, this is okay, the pastry will harden up as it cools. Allow the cookies to fully cool before you sprinkle them with powdered sugar and serve.
Polish Kolaczki Apricot Filled Cookies (Gluten Free)
makes about 30 filled cookies
4 oz cream cheese (I used a lactose free one from Green Valley Creamery)
1.5 cups gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour)
3/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup Powdered sugar for sprinkling
1 1/2 cup dried apricots
2 tablespoons honey
2 tsp lemon juice
In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth.
Slowly add the flour and salt to the mixer until well blended and a dough forms.
Remove dough from mixing bowl and roll into a ball.
Wrap in a piece of parchment paper and chill dough overnight in the refrigerator (or for a minimum of 1 hour).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Once dough has chilled begin to roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick.
Cut into 2 inch squares and place about 1 teaspoon of apricot jam into each center.
Overlap the opposite corners of the dough and pinch together.
Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes.
Allow cookies to cool completely (they will feel soft when you immediately remove them from the oven but they will harden up) before removing from baking sheet and then sprinkle with powdered sugar
To make the filling combine the apricots, 2 cups of water, honey, and lemon juice in a small pot over medium-high heat.
Bring mixture to a boil and then allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring consistently until apricots are soft.
Place mixture in a food processor and pulse until a thick apricot jam/paste forms.
Pour into a jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.