Kołaczki: Polish Christmas Cookies filled with Jam

Kruche ciastka z Powidłami

Kołaczki are delicious cookies shaped as an open envelope, generously filled with fruit jam (plum, cherry, apricot, forest fruit) and lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar. 

The flaky pastry is based on sour cream or cream cheese – in Polish, we call this type of pastry ‘ciasto półkruche’ (literally: ‘semi-shortcrust’).

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know below.

‘Kołaczki’ are known internationally, and are often attributed to Poland. But in fact – they’re a very common cookie, popular across the whole Eastern and Central Europe. 

In Poland, these cookies these are sold under a generic name: ‘kruche z powidłami’ (meaning: ‘shortcrust cookies with jam’), and are available in various shapes and sizes. The term ‘Kołaczki’ is pretty much unknown in Poland, and I’m not sure how this name has became so popular abroad. I’m hoping to investigate this topic soon.

But since they’re already called ‘Polish Christmas Cookies’ around the world, let’s embrace this tradition.

Fun fact: These cookies get often misspelled as – kolaczki, kolachky, kolachy or kolacky – but a proper spelling would be ‘kołaczki’, pronounced: cowachkey (already plural). 

There are plenty of Polish desserts with a similar name (such as Silesian ‘Kołocz’ cake, or a Old-Slavic ‘Kołacz’: a large, wheel-shaped wedding bread).

If you would like to try another festive recipe, I would recommend one of these:

Do you need any special ingredients to make these Kołaczki Cookies?

In this recipe we’re using eight ounces of unflavoured cream cheese, which should be easily available in any major supermarket. 

Also, pick your favourite fruit preserve – ideally it should be as thick as possible, otherwise it might just fall off the pastry.

What should you serve with these Kołaczki?

These jam-filled cookies are mostly enjoyed on their own, without any sides or dips. A glass of milk or a cup of warm beverage would go with these Kołaczki nicely.

Can you bake these Polish Christmas Cookies another way?

Not really. You can swap cream cheese for a thick sour cream or ground Twaróg (Polish-style Farmer’s Cheese)

What diets are these Kołaczki Cookies suitable for?

These cookies are suitable for vegetarians.

How long can you store these Cookies?

You shouldn’t worry too much about storing these, Kołaczki usually disappear with a speed of light. To avoid Kołączki drying out, store them in a container with a lid. It can be a tin or a box made of glass, ceramics or plastic. They’ll last in a dry place for up to 2 weeks.

Can I freeze these Kołaczki Cookies?

You can freeze the cookie dough, but I would not recommend freezing cookies that are already baked.

FAQ & Troubleshooting

🤔 My cookies are opening up! How to keep Kołaczki closed?

When assembling Kołaczki, moisten your fingertip with water and wet one corner of the cookie. Lift it to the center, lift the opposite corner and make sure the wet part is between the layers. Press and seal them together.

Smacznego!

Polish kołaczki cookies with jam
Polish kołaczki cookies with jam

Kołaczki: Polish Christmas Cookies Filled with Jam

Yield: 60 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Time in fridge: 20 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Wow your party guests - and Santa himself - with these crunchy Kołaczki cookies! Soft, buttery, fruity - there's nothing better for the festive season.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (375 g) plain flour
  • 3 sticks (345 g) butter
  • 8 oz (230 g) cream cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 28 oz fruit jam of your choice
  • icing/powdered sugar, for sprinkling 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 356°F / 180°C
  2. Sift the flour onto a pastry board and chop the butter in (like you would do for a shortcrust pastry). 
  3. Add cream cheese and egg yolk and knead the dough quickly. If necessary - sprinkle with flour. To make the dough easier to roll out, wrap it into cling film and place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Roll out the dough into a thickness of 3-4 mm (1/8 inch). Cut the dough in 2 1/2 inch squares. Transfer the squares to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Put a teaspoon of jam on the centre of each square, and wrap the corners -one on top of the other - to create an open envelope.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 60 Serving Size: 5
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 86Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 30mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 2g

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Kasia Kronenberger

Kasia Kronenberger changes the (often unfavourable) perceptions of Polish food through digital storytelling. She creates purpose-led, bite-sized videos, exploring her cultural identity through food. As a self-taught home cook, Kasia enjoys trying out recipes from old Polish cookbooks. She’s keen of all things smoked or fermented.


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