Unlike the amazing @laPapessaGiovanna I don't bake stuff that looks like it should be in an artisan bakery. My stuff is more homey which is code for messy but yummy.
With the upsetting news events and some problems at work which have me completely clenched I kicked off the holiday baking season for some much needed stress relief.
As always started with the far and away favorite our family's kolachkis. Those of you familiar with pastries of Polish descent might be familiar. There are two main types of kolachkis...the round ones and those folded over to look like little bow ties. Both delicious - only the former is considered a kolachki in my family off origin.*
*Like many Americans I am a mutt, but this recipe came from my grandfather's family. His parents were among the thousands of Polish immigrants to the Westfallen region of Germany (Bochum) where my grandpa was born. They were originally from the Podhale region of Poland - and we have a deli run by people from Zakopane in that region who also do the round version so I assume that's how the Goral (people of that region) do kolachkis.
I should note I'm in something of a mixed marriage since when I first made these for my headship he said they were great, but not kolachkis since they weren't folded over like his family makes them. He thought he had the winning argument because he is 100% of Polish descent and I have significantly weaker ties to that part of my family but he was wrong. Turns out the person with the recipe and willingness to bake them wins all such disputes.
My first attempt of the season always sucks...they taste good but I don't get the size and texture right until the second try so this was to get the ugly cookies out of the way.
The dough is simple - nothing but cream cheese, butter, and flour chilled at least 4 hours (overnight is better) and rolled out while cold to the thickness of pie crust, cut in rounds, dollop of Solo Pie Filling in the center and bake. Key things to remember is not to over handle the dough, they over bake easily to watch the time, and anything besides Solo brand for the filling is sacrilege and should be subject to capital punishment.
Cherry and apricot are the acceptable favors. I do make plum/prune also but not to eat...the purpose of those is to allow me to finish the last of the cherry / apricot without guilt knowing I am leaving something for others...even if it's everyone's third choice.
first season in the new house and couldn't find my cookie board so I improvised and used the sterilized (steam) granite counter. Is that gross? It was super clean but felt gross to work directly on counter. Stop judging, you don't have to eat them! Also couldn't find my cookie cutter (packed with Christmas stuff) so had to use a wine glass and went too small so they came out kind of mini.
Of the 60 I made exactly 4 came out properly. Better odds than usual for the first attempt of the season, but the family doesn't care about how sad and ugly the remainder are...they are already starting to vanish.
And there is a reason professional food photographers are a thing - this is hard. And I'm messy. I always try to work tidy like they do on food network and I do clean as I go...but the in process stuff is never as organized and lovely as it is on tv. You know what my problem is? I don't have a staff.