Kolaches... filled with apple filling. I know I haven't posted in a great while, but life has been quite busy for me. As much as I've wanted to post at least a recipe or 2 during this long absence, I simply haven't been able to do so until now. To make a long story short, I have been busy moving from our old house to a new house... and a new place... and all this during the wintery Montana months! As you can imagine, my kitchen utensils weren't always available to me... 

However, today I'm excited to finally share a recipe with you:). It's an easy sort of recipe with wonderful results! The dough is quite versatile...  it can be used as a sweet dough (fruit/ nut/ nutella)... or even savory(think spiced ground meat/sausage rolls or even an onion filling). 

The resulting recipe for Kolaches, came about when I found myself with a container of frozen apple filling that I wanted to use up. My thoughts initially was to  make a strudel, but I had no phyllo dough on hand. Then I thought to make an apple pie pizza, but didn't want to make something that I have been making too much of lately:). Incidentally, one of these days, I shall have to make the apple pizza again, just to post it here, because it is one of my favorites. In any case, because I had seen a video clip not too long ago on making simple and easy kolaches, I immediately thought the apple filling would work amazingly well in kolaches. And it sure did!

While I made my kolaches with an apple filling, you can  opt to make a cheese filling if you prefer...or try another fruit filling of choice. Since this recipe comes from Cook's Country, they include the cheese filling recipe, as well as the option of making your own fruit filling from frozen fruit. I've included the information as part of the recipe, even though I used my own apple filling. You can certainly be creative and make any filling you prefer...  but the dough is really nice to work with. I have plans to one day make  kolaches that are filled with custard and then topped with half on apricot(similar to these)... doesn't that sound good? I know there are a ton of filling variations, so the recipe is perfect....to make again and again... and file it in the recipe index:).  Hope you enjoy...

Note: The original recipe includes all purpose flour, but I used bread flour because I like the result I get in sweet doughs... however, feel free to use all purpose. Also, while the original recipe doesn't include any vanilla, I find I can't bake without it:). You can even add some orange/lemon zest to the dough if you like.

Tip: You can make smaller kolaches... making 32 instead of 16 and using a smaller cup to make indentations. I think the smaller versions would be lovely as part of an afternoon tea menu.  

You will need: makes 16 kolaches  adapted from Cook's Country

Kolach dough:
1 cup whole milk, can be straight out from fridge
10 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks
3 ½ cups bread flour
⅓ cup sugar 
2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
1 ½ teaspoon salt, can lower to taste
1 tsp vanilla extract, can be optional

For a cheese filling:
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons sugar, can adjust to taste
1 tablespoon flour
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
6 ounces (3/4 cup) ricotta cheese
vanilla extract, to taste

For a frozen type fruit filling:
10 ounces frozen pineapple, blueberries, or cherries
5 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
can add extract of choice, vanilla, almond, lemon etc 

Streusel Topping:
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces and chilled

Egg Wash:
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk

Powdered sugar glaze, optional 
mix powder sugar with a bit of water/milk until drizzling consistency


For the dough: 

1. Combine milk, hot melted butter and eggs together in measuring cup... and add vanilla extract, if using. Mixture may be lumpy.

2. Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer then add milk mixture and knead for 2 minutes on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium and continue kneading for 8 to 12 minutes until dough no longer sticks to side of bowl. If the dough hasn't cleared the bowl after 12 minutes, add more flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, up to 2 Tablespoons.

3. Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap... let rise in warm place for 1 hour  or until doubled. 
( Alternately, adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions.  Place dough bowl on the upper-middle rack and place a small pot on the lower-middle rack (underneath dough bowl)and  pour 3 cups boiling water into small pot, close oven door, and let dough rise about 1 hour or until doubled.)
Tip: You can also refrigerate dough overnight in a covered bowl, bring to room temp, and allow to rise till doubled and proceed with recipe.

4. In the meantime, combine egg wash, make streusel, make filling of choice and set aside.
  • For the Streusel: Combine all ingredients and mix together with fingers. Cover and refrigerate until needed
  • For a Cheese Filling: Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat the Cream Cheese, Sugar, Flour, and Lemon Zest on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Add Ricotta Cheese and beat until just combined, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • For a Fruit Filling: Combine 10 oz frozen Pineapple, Blueberries, or Cherries with 5 Tablespoons Sugar; and 4 teaspoons Cornstarch in bowl.  Microwave, covered, until bubbling and thickened, about 6 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.  Mash with a potato masher.  Let cool completely and fill Kolaches as directed.
  • For the Apple Filling... I used a previous frozen apple filling found in my apple turnover recipe.(You may or may not use all of the filling.)  
To Assemble and Bake the Kolaches: 
  • Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
1. After dough has risen, remove from bowl and flatten dough into a rectangular shape with fingers...divide dough into quarters, and cut each quarter into 4 equal pieces.... resulting in 16 pieces  
2. Form each piece into a smooth, tight ball.  Arrange 8 balls on each baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  
3. Place the baking sheets in  a warm place and allow to double. (alternately place sheets in the oven, replace the water in the small pot with 3 cups boiling water, close oven door and let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes or until nicely doubled and puffy.)
  • Preheat oven to 350 Deg F

4. Grease and flour the bottom of a ⅓ cup dry measure or a glass with a 2¼ inch diameter and use to make deep indents on top of each ball until bottom of measuring cup touches baking sheet.
5. Fill each indentation with about 1.5 tablespoons of filling... use your choice.
6. Brush tops of each pastry with egg wash, and then sprinkle sides with streusel
7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (do not over bake, lightly colored) and let cool for about 20 minutes. Glaze with powdered sugar glaze if desired.
 Tip: if you plan on freezing some baked. allow to cool and wrap well before placing in freezer. Defrost and warm slightly before serving.