Cookie

Put Jam in Your Cookies & They'll Look like Pretty Little Jewels

December 10, 2016

Selecting a package of Pepperidge Farm cookies was one of the greatest thrills when I was little. Rarely was this privilege bestowed upon me; when it was my choice, I'd carefully weigh my options. There were nubby, cobbled Brussels cookies with their thin layer of bittersweet chocolate. Milanos were a classic choice, and I loved the buttery Chessmen, shiny with an egg wash finish. But, usually ,I'd pick the crumbly, sweet Verona circles, which sported jammy centers of strawberry preserves.

The combination of a crunchy, buttery cookie and sweet jam is still irresistible to me. So I was happy to discover this excellent recipe, from the Nielsen-Massey archives, for traditional Polish holiday cookies (called kolackzi). The addition of cream cheese makes the dough tender and less crumbly than most cookies.

I filled mine with apricot and raspberry jam, but you could use any flavor you like. Or, try frangipane or chocolate hazelnut spread.

Shop the Story

This being said, using jam makes the cookies look like pretty little jewels. They're the perfect addition to a dessert platter or holiday cookie swap. Just dust them lightly with confectioners' sugar, if you like, before serving.

Raspberry jam finds a cozy cookie home. Photo by Posie Harwood

Be sure to roll your dough out very thinly. It will be sticky when you mix it up, but don't worry: Rolling the dough in a blend of flour and confectioners' sugar to prevents it from clinging to the work surface.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I find it holds together better than jam, as that tends to 'run'. After assembling the dough, it is refrigerated for at least an hour to firm up. Then, the dough is rolled out and I use a shot glass to cut the shapes. The centers are pressed with my thumb to make a well for the filling. Be sure to not over bake them! As soon as they come out of the oven, they are dusted with powdered sugar and again before serving. ”
— BerryBaby
Comment

For successful cookies, don't add too much filling (it's tempting, I know!), or they won't hold their shape during baking. It's also important to press the edges of the dough together firmly when you roll it up around the jam, to make sure the little "envelopes" stay closed.

In the world of Christmas cookies, these are, as the saying goes, most certainly my jam.

Posie Harwood is a writer, photographer, and food stylist based in New York. You can read more of her writing here.

What would you fill these little envelopes with? Let us know in the comments below!

7 Comments

Kate December 29, 2016
Absolutely delicious and huge hit! Not too sweet and so brightly flavored and colored. A real jewel in the holiday cookie spread! This will probably go into my annual Christmas cookie rotation from now on out :)
 
Renee M. December 15, 2016
I have an old but slightly different recipe i got from an older Slovak woman many years ago. The ones i make are called kiffles and while similar they are rolled and powdered. A bit richer with the aaddition of several egg yolks as well. Traditionally she told me they are filled with apricot,which i make myself to get it thick enough, walnut or poppyseed. Some years back i began putting almond filing in some. My hubby loves them! But they are work as I roll them out singularly cause dough gets to warm. I don't mind and usually make about 200 at a shot but these look good too.
 
Liz S. December 17, 2016
I would love that recipe if you've of the mind to share :-)
 
Renee M. December 17, 2016
Absolutely! My pleasure. <br />KIFFLES<br />4-EGG YOLKS<br />1LB. BUTTER, SOFTENED<br />12 OZ. (1 LG 1 SMALL) PHILLY CHEESE, SOFTENED<br />4C.-FLOUR <br />PINCH SALT<br />IN BOWL, CREAM TOG. BUTTER AND PHILLY AND PINCH SALT.<br />ADD EGG YOLKS, BEAT WELL.<br />ADD FLOUR CUP AT A TIME. WRAP IN PLASTIC. CHILL OVERNIGHT. I PINCH OFF LIL DOUGH [BOUT THE SIZE OF A SHOOTER MARBLE] ROLL OUT THIN IN POWDERED SUGAR, PUT ABOUT A QUARTER tsp. OF FILLING (WHATEVER KIND) AND ROLL UP PUT ON PARCHMENT LINES COOKIE SHEET. BAKE ABOUT 14 OR MORE MIN. AT 325-350° GOLDEN ON BOTTOM AND DON'T LOOK TO RAW (like dough that's not baked long enough), ON TOP. TAKE OUT OF OVEN AND LET SIT ON SHEET A FEW MIN TILL STABLE. COOL COMPLETELY ON WIRE RACK. ROLL IN POWDERED SUGAR I'D YOU WANT. STORE WITH PARCHMENT BETWEEN LAYERS SO THEY DON'T GET STICKY. CAN BE RE POWDERED OF NECESSARY. <br />APRICOT BUTTER: <br />1LB. DRIED APRICOTS IN A POT. WATER TO COVER BOUT A PINT. BRING TO BOIL REDUCE TO SIMMER COOK TILL SOFT ABOUT A HALF HOUR-ADD LIL WATER IF NECESSARY. TAKE OFF HEAT USE A STICK BLENDER TILL PRETTY SMOOTH. ADD 1-C. SUGAR BACK IN LOW HEAT COOK TILL THICK IF IT ISN'T ALREADY. KEEP AN EYE ON IT SO IT DOESN'T BURN. NOT LONG. YOU'LL KNOW. 😊 you can mix up unused egg whites with ground walnuts, a lil sugar and a lil milk to bind, and use that to fill kiffles as well. You won't be sorry. <br /><br />
 
Lindsay C. December 11, 2016
I saw this picture and immediately thought of my grandma's kolach! She was Slovak, and she usually made three flavors -- apricot (my favorite), poppyseed and black currant jam. I haven't made them in years; this makes me want to dig out her recipe again. I remember keeping the dough cold was important so it rolled out well, but it's still really sticky to work with. Thank you for sharing!
 
BerryBaby December 10, 2016
Love Kolachkes! Our mother, who was Yugoslavian, made these every year at Christmas. I make them the same way she did (there are lots of variations), with Solo brand apricot filling. I find it holds together better than jam, as that tends to 'run'. After assembling the dough, it is refrigerated for at least an hour to firm up. Then, the dough is rolled out and I use a shot glass to cut the shapes. The centers are pressed with my thumb to make a well for the filling. Be sure to not over bake them! As soon as they come out of the oven, they are dusted with powdered sugar and again before serving.
 
selena December 15, 2016
ditto on the same story (except gram was Hungarian). When I make them, they often "open" back to squares.