Kolacky Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 50 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling
A flaky cream-cheese dough makes these walnut-filled kolacky cookies a joy to bite into. Make these when you want to wow your friends or when your family wants something sweet during a holiday.

Updated: Jul. 05, 2024

Kolacky cookies are filled pastries that have two opposite corners of dough folded over the filling in the center of the pastry. The cookie looks like a small envelope with two opposite ends left open. The dough contains cream cheese, which makes the baked cookie flaky and satisfying, and the sugary walnut filling adds lovely sweetness. Kolacky cookies can be eaten at any time of the year, but for many families they’ve become a go-to Christmas cookie.

Don’t confuse kolacky cookies with kolache pastries. Kolaches are round, bunlike pastries, such as these lemon kolaches, with filling in the top center or middle, often of jam and cream cheese. Both kolacky and kolache are popular Czech pastries (Poland has varieties of kolacky, too, with the name often spelled as kolaczki).

Kolacky Cookies Ingredients

  • Butter: This helps with the flakiness while adding flavor.
  • Cream cheese: Cream cheese is the real driver of the flakiness in the pastry. It also produces a dough that is more flexible than one made with all butter, so it’s easier to fold and roll the dough without cracking.
  • All-purpose flour: The dough’s structure will be much more stable if you use all-purpose flour and not a low-protein flour such as cake flour.
  • Egg whites from large eggs: Egg whites help bind the filling ingredients together. Here’s why you shouldn’t use jumbo eggs if the recipe calls for large.
  • Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract adds a sweet flavor to the whites.
  • Sugar: Sugar, of course, sweetens the filling.
  • Ground walnuts: Use ground and not chopped walnuts in the filling because ground walnuts will form a smoother paste that’s easier to spread on each cookie.
  • Confectioners’ sugar: Confectioners’ sugar serves both as a way to prevent the dough from sticking to cutting boards and other surfaces, also and as a topping for the cooled kolacky cookies.

Directions

Step 1: Make the dough

Cream the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl until blended. Gradually add the flour to the cream-cheese mixture, and divide the resulting dough into three portions. Shape each portion into a disk, wrap them and place in the refrigerator for about one hour until the dough is firm and easier to roll out.

Step 2: Make the filling

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Beat the egg whites and vanilla extract (if using beaters, beat on medium speed) until the mixture is foamy. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, to the mixture, blending well on medium speed. Stir in the ground walnuts.

Step 3: Roll out and cut the dough

Coat your work surface with confectioners’ sugar. Roll one disc of dough into a 12×12-inch square that’s 1/8 inch thick. Sprinkle additional confectioners’ sugar on the dough as needed to coat it. Cut the dough into 16 squares that are 3×3 inches each.

Step 4: Add the filling and shape the cookies

Take 2 teaspoons of filling and shape it into a 2-inch log. Place it on a square of dough so that the ends of the log point toward two corners of the square. Fold the other two corners over the filling, overlapping the ends; pinch to seal. Grease baking sheets and place the folded cookies about 2 inches apart on the sheets. Repeat with all the squares and filling.

Step 5: Bake the cookies

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown. Place the kolacky cookies on a wire rack to cool. When completely cool, dust each with confectioners’ sugar.

Kolacky Cookies Variations

  • Switch up the filling: While this recipe uses a walnut-based filling, you can also use different types of jam or preserves to fill the cookies. Make an array of apricot, strawberry and other flavored cookies if you don’t like walnuts or are allergic to tree nuts.
  • Add a spice: Try incorporating a little bit of a spice such as cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom into the walnut filling.

How to Store Kolacky Cookies

Place the baked cookies in an airtight container; layer parchment paper or wax paper between the cookies if you have to stack them on top of each other. Eat them within a week. Freezing isn’t advised as the filling may not thaw well.

Can you make Kolacky Cookies ahead of time?

You can make the dough a couple of days ahead of when you plan to bake the cookies. Make the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap, store it in an airtight container and place that in the refrigerator. Use within two days, and make the filling on the day you bake the cookies.

Kolacky Cookies Tips

Do you really need confectioners’ sugar for the cookies?

In this case, you do. Confectioners’ sugar is pulverized sugar with additional cornstarch that helps stabilize the sugar so that it doesn’t melt. Regular white sugar will change the texture of these cookies.

How do you keep the pastry corners from unfolding during baking?

If pinching the flaps of dough doesn’t keep them closed during baking, use a drop of water or egg white as a seal. Fold one corner over, add a drop of water or egg white to the top of that flap, and then fold the other corner over, pressing down carefully (don’t smash the filling). You may find egg white to be more successful. Don’t throw out the unused yolks. You can use them in several recipes, including these Bohemian kolaches.

How do you make the dough square edges straight?

If you’re worried about your cuts in the dough going askew, place a piece of parchment paper over the dough you aren’t cutting and use the edge as a guide for making a straight line as you cut. Cut the dough next to the paper’s edge with a dough scraper or even a pizza cutter wheel.

Kolacky Cookies

Prep Time 50 min
Cook Time 10 min
Yield 4 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • FILLING:
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3-1/2 cups ground walnuts
  • Confectioners' sugar

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until blended. Gradually beat flour into creamed mixture. Divide dough into 3 portions. Shape each into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm enough to roll.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. For filling, in a small bowl, beat egg whites and vanilla on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on medium after each addition until well blended. Stir in walnuts.
  3. Generously coat a work surface with confectioners' sugar. Roll 1 portion of dough into a 12-in. square about 1/8 in. thick, sprinkling with additional confectioners' sugar as necessary to coat well. Cut into sixteen 3-in. squares.
  4. Shape 2 teaspoons filling into a small log about 2 in. long. Place diagonally onto a square. Overlap opposite corners of dough over filling; pinch tightly to seal. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  5. Bake until bottoms are golden brown, 9-11 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.
  6. To Make Ahead: Dough can be made 2 days in advance. Wrap and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts

1 cookie: 129 calories, 9g fat (4g saturated fat), 15mg cholesterol, 49mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g protein.

As a child, I always looked forward to eating these goodies at Christmastime. Now I make them for my own family. —Sharon Kurtz, Emmaus, Pennsylvania
Recipe Creator