This tender pastry cookie, a cousin to Jewish rugelach, has Polish origins. In her book Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland, Shauna Sever's apricot filling nods to Hungary.

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Ingredients

FILLING

COOKIES

Directions

  • For filling: Place apricots in a medium saucepan; add water to cover by 1 inch (about 1 1/2 cups). Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, until fruit is softened, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover; simmer until thickened and reduced to about 11/2 cups, 20 to 30 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.

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  • Transfer apricot mixture to a blender or food processor. Cover and blend until nearly smooth. Add orange blossom water, if desired, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Blend 30 seconds more. Transfer to a heatproof container. Let cool, uncovered, at room temperature. Cover and chill up to 3 weeks (filling will firm as it chills) or freeze up to 1 year (thaw before using).

  • For cookies: In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and 1/3 cup granulated sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add orange zest, 2 teaspoons vanilla, the almond extract and 1 teaspoon salt; beat 1 minute more. Gradually add as much of the flour as you can, beating on low speed; stir in remaining flour by hand. Divide dough into fourths. Place one dough portion between two 12-inch-square sheets wax paper. Roll into an 81/2×61/2-inch rectangle. Leaving wax paper on dough, slide onto a rimless baking sheet and refrigerate. Repeat with remaining dough portions, stacking wax paper-covered rectangles on baking sheet. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place one dough sheet on a large cutting board or clean work surface (leave the remaining dough in the refrigerator while you work); remove both sheets of wax paper. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, trim 1/4 inch from all four sides to make a clean, straight-edged 8×6-inch rectangle. Cut dough into 2-inch squares. Place 1 teaspoon filling in the center of each square, using back of spoon to nudge filling in a diagonal strip from one corner to the other. Fold one unfilled corner just over the filling, then fold the opposite corner on top, overlapping slightly. Place cookies 11/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

  • Bake until lightly golden on bottoms and edges, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets 1 minute; transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months. Before serving, dust kolacky generously with powdered sugar.

*SHOPPING TIP

Find orange blossom water in specialty markets or order it online.

Nutrition Facts

90 calories; 6 g total fat; 15 mg cholesterol; 65 mg sodium. 9 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein;

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