It's no secret that I operate, generally speaking, like a woman post-menapause. I take my time making decisions, think rationally, err on the side of caution, cringe at the thought of danger, hold sleep with the highest regard, and love books.
So, as any 60 year old would, my girlfriends and I started a book club. (Note: They're much cooler and younger acting than I am. Their souls are more on par with their actual age.) We decided to begin by taking turns suggesting our favorite book of all time (no easy task) and then bringing a dish to accompany the theme, location, etc. of the book. Our first read was Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. Since the book wasn't necessarily set in any one place, and since this was a new endeavor for us all, we decided that our first feast would be prepared by bringing something out-of-the-box and something we'd never created before.
Taking cues from the author's roots, I prepared a Czecholosavakian pastry for my dish. The dough was so easy and delicious that I wanted to share it with you. Not only were these Czech cookies, or kolaches, so yummy, but they're versatile too. I followed the recipe closely, but the filling could be tweaked so many ways--filled with bits of brie, fresh fruit, chocolate, you name it! The dough would also be the perfect pie crust.
I N G R E D I E N T S
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 can apricot fruit filling
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting
D I R E C T I O N S
1. Place the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl; beat with electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar into the butter/cream cheese mixture. Slowly beat in the flour; mix well. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F or 190 decrees C.
3. On a well floured surface, roll out chilled dough to 1/8 inch. Use a pizza cutter to slice dough into 2 1/2 inch squares (approximately). Spoon about 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of each square. Fold opposite corners of each square into the middle to encase the filling; pinch dough together in the center. Transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined in parchment paper.
4. Bake the kolache in the preheated oven until set, but not brown. For me, this was about 14 minutes. Remove and place on a cooling rack. Dust the cooled kolache with remaining powdered sugar.
Let me know if you try your hand at these delicious desserts or if you've got a great book recommendation for our club later down the road!