Kolaches

Kolaches

These kolaches are soft, tender pastries with a fruit filling and creamy vanilla frosting. They’re the most tempting and delicious treat for breakfast, brunch, snacking or dessert!

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Kolache with fruit filling and vanilla frosting on a wooden cutting board

I thought about posting this kolache recipe a long time ago, but honestly, was just worried I wouldn’t do it justice. But it’s time, my friends! It’s time to share this recipe because it’s one that’s near and dear to my heart and is simply INCREDIBLE.

Growing up, I lived just 3 miles down the gravel road from my grandparents. I’m not sure I really appreciated that as much as I should’ve, now that I’m 2 1/2 hours from home. In the summer months, my siblings and I would bike or ride the four-wheelers there often.

Of course we visited to see Grandma and Grandpa, but her treats were always a huge perk! 🙂 Grandma usually had kolaches around, whether they were freshly baked or in the freezer. No matter the time of day, her kolaches always hit the spot!

Kolache with a bite out of it on a wooden cutting board

Are kolaches Czech or Texan?

Kolaches (properly pronounced “kol-ah-chees”) were brought to the United States (Texas, specifically), from the Czech. Traditionally, they are yeast pastries with various fruit and cheese fillings. Perhaps you’ve seen “kolaches” that are filled with meat or some other savory filling. Technically, those are called “klobasniki.”

This recipe is similar to a traditional Czech kolache, but round (traditionally, most are square) and they’re adorned in a delightful buttercream. Ok, now it’s time to chat about how these pastries are made!

What do you need to make kolaches?

  • Warm water (to activate the yeast)
  • Active dry yeast (You’ll want to make sure your yeast is not expired or it won’t function as well as it should)
  • Milk (2% or whole is ideal, but skim or 1% will work)
  • Margarine (Butter works too)
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Large eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • All purpose flour
  • Pie or pastry filling (raspberry, cherry, apricot, prune, whatever else your heart desires! :))
  • Frosting ingredients – butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, almond extract and milk

How do you make kolaches?

1. Activate the yeast

Yeast rising

In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, you’ll combine the water, 1 tsp sugar and the yeast. The water temperature is very important. If it’s too cool, it won’t activiate the yeast (=flat, flat kolaches) and if it’s too hot, it’ll kill the yeast (also = flat, flat kolaches)!

Once the ingredients are combined, you’ll set it aside to let it raise like in the photos above.

2. Start making the kolache dough

Photos of how to make kolaches; scalded milk, milk melting the butter, and wooden spoon stirring milk

First, you’re going to heat milk until it’s “scalded.” This is essentially heating it up until it’s very hot, but not boiling yet. You’ll know it’s ready when it forms a thin skin over the milk (see the left photo of the three above).

Then you’ll cut butter into cubes, place in a large bowl, and pour the hot milk over it. Stir until the butter is melted.

Now, you’ll add the sugar and salt, then the egg and vanilla.

Leveling a cup of flour and stirring the flour with a wooden spoon

Once that’s combined, you’ll add one cup of the flour and stir.

Making kolache dough and stirring with a wooden spoon

Now, you’ll add the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Then, add the remaining flour one cup at a time until you have a soft dough. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover loosely with a clean towel and let raise in a warm place until doubled, which will take around an hour.

3. Form the dough into balls

Forming kolache dough into balls

Next, you’ll put a little shortening on your hands (like I said above, it’s a soft dough so this will help it not stick to your fingers) and cut pieces of dough and form them into balls approximately 2 inches in diameter. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet or one lined with a silicon baking mat. Cover loosely with a towel and again, let them rise. This time, it’ll take about 30-40 minutes.

4. Fill the kolaches and bake

Filling kolaches with fruit filling

Use your fingers to press a well into the center of each kolache and fill with your favorite filling. My two favorites are cherry and raspberry! You can certainly make your own filling, but I tend to use a filling like the one pictured above. It’s nice and thick, so the kolaches don’t get soggy at all!

Then, bake the kolaches for 12-15 minutes in a 350F oven. Be sure to bake one sheet pan at a time for even baking. Remove them from the oven when they’re a very light golden brown (see above right photo). Use a spatula to move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

5. Frost the kolaches (and devour!!)

Frosting the kolaches

In a medium-sized bowl (or stand mixer), beat the softened butter until fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extract and beat until smooth and creamy. Add a tablespoon or two of milk if needed to make it the consistency pictured above. Frost each of the cooled kolaches and enjoy!

Not sure you’re ready to conquer a yeast bread quite yet?

If you’ve never made a yeast bread before, it can be intimidating. A yeast bread dough isn’t necessarily difficult, it’s just a little more technical than a quick bread.

This one is a fun one to start with, because it doesn’t need to be kneaded at all. Just give it a try and see how it goes! Have questions? Let me know in the comments below.

And if you want to just save this recipe for later and make a quick bread/muffin this time, I totally understand. Here are a couple options…

  • Pumpkin Churro Mini Muffins – these might be my favorite muffin recipe of all time. They’re so good, I make them year-round!
  • Peach Muffins – These always seem to hit the spot, too, and have a gorgeous crumb topping and drizzle of vanilla icing!
  • Cranberry Apple Bread – I love this bread, especially around the holidays. It makes for a delicious homemade gift, too!

Get the printable Kolache recipe below!

Kolaches

Kolaches

Kelsey
These soft, tender pastries have a fruit filling and creamy vanilla frosting – perfect for breakfast, brunch, snack or dessert!
5 from 1 vote
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Servings 24 kolaches

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 c water (105-110°F)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 c milk
  • 1/2 c margarine (1 stick)
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 3/4 – 4 c flour
  • 1 – 12 oz can pie or pastry filling*

Frosting

  • 1/2 c butter
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract optional
  • milk if needed

Instructions
 

  • In a liquid measuring cup (or small mixing bowl), combine the warm water, 1 tsp sugar and yeast. Stir and set aside.
  • Heat milk in microwave until it's "scalded." (See photos and text above in post to learn what this is).
  • Cut the margarine into cubes and place in a large bowl. Pour the scalded milk over it and stir until the margarine is melted.
  • Stir in the sugar and salt. Then stir in the eggs and vanilla.
  • Next, stir in 1 cup of the flour.
  • Then, add the yeast mixture and the remainder of the flour. (The dough will be soft, but if it's super sticky, add an additional flour tablespoon by tablespoon).
  • Place the dough in a large greased bowl, loosely covered with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  • With shortening-greased hands, form balls (~2 inches) in diameter and place at least 3 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (If you don't have parchment paper, use a silicon baking mat or simply grease your pans)
  • Let rise for 30 minutes.
  • Using two fingers, press a well in the center of each ball of dough. You want to make a good sized well, but be sure to not press it so far that you see the pan.
  • Add filling into each well.
  • Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes or until a very light golden brown; let cool.
  • Make the frosting: Beat the butter until fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Beat until smooth and creamy, adding a tablespoon or two of milk if needed.
  • Spread the frosting on the kolaches and enjoy!

Notes

**I recommend warming these up in the microwave for 10 seconds each before eating.  It makes them just that much better!!  These are truly dreamy!

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