These Apricot Kolaches cookies are a sweet apricot puree wrapped in a bite-size buttery, rich, cream cheese pastry – a beautiful cookie with the perfect amount of sweet for the holidays.
Today’s post is especially fun for me, because this recipe is the very definition of a collaborative cookie swap on so many levels. And, I’m proud to tell you that these delightful bites are brought to you by The Husband! I think he nailed it on his first try, don’t you?
Like many of you, I’ve been buried elbow deep in holiday baking and participating in cookie exchanges, a.k.a. cookie swaps.
Unfortunately, this past week I’ve been under the weather in a big way, so I was ill-prepared to help out with The Husband’s office holiday cookie swap!
What’s one to do?
One calls on all her baker friends for help, is what one does! 🙂
I could think of no-one better to call than master baker Lindsey from American Heritage Cooking to find us a quick, easy and beautiful cookie recipe that The Husband, who has never baked before, could make for his crew.
Lindsey delivered a fantastic cookie recipe, that he could make, that is absolutely perfect for his cookie swap. With Lindsey’s recipe, my close supervision, and The Husband at the command center with spatula and mixer in hand, we went to work.
What you’ll love about this recipe is:
- the recipe is easy to follow
- there are few ingredients
- they are easy to make
- they bake perfectly in 12 minutes
- they look like beautiful little packages when they’re baked
The real surprise comes though when you taste them. The apricot puree is soft and sweet, and it’s wrapped in a flaky, buttery, rich, cream cheese pastry – pure heaven in a bite. What I love about these is, when they are wrapped and sealed corner-to-corner, they look like gifts!
And if they un-wrap during the cooking process (and some of them will, like the picture above), they are the most beautiful, little pieces of art! Still the same incredible flavor, but they look elegant, refined – elevated above all other cookies, in all the land. 🙂
I personally love the look of the un-wrapped ones even better. Don’t you think they look like art? So graceful. And edible. Definitely edible. Tooooo edible – and, before you know it, they will be gone.
Regardless of whether you like them wrapped or un-wrapped, you’ll be blown away by the buttery, flaky, soft pastry crust that leads to the perfect sweetness of the softened apricots. Perfection in a package. Happy holidays!
Apricot Kolaches Cookies
- 2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar for rolling
- 1/2 pound dried apricots
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Place dried apricots in a small saucepan and cover with just enough water to cover the apricots. Heat to a boil and boil until the apricots soften, but do not let all the water evaporate. Add a bit of water (if necessary) to keep the apricots from burning.
- When the apricots soften, add the sugar and continue to cook until thick.
- Remove from stove, let cool for a bit, then puree filling in a food processor. If the filling is too thin, return it to the saucepan and continue to cook until thickened.
- Mix flour and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Beat softened cream cheese and butter together with a stand or hand mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy (approximately 3-5 minutes).
- Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium-low and slowly add in the flour, pouring in 1/2 cup at a time. The dough should be soft, but not sticky.
- Remove from mixer and divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Flatten each to ¾” thick and wrap in plastic wrap, then refrigerate until hard, at least 2 hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Move the oven rack one setting higher than the center.
- Take one of the disks of dough from the refrigerator and very lightly flour both sides. Spread granulated sugar on your work surface, place the dough on top and roll out pastry to 1/16” to 1/8” thick.
- With a pastry or pizza wheel (or a sharp knife), trim the dough into a 2 inch OR 2 and 1/2 inch square.
- Place a 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of filling into the center of each square. Gently fold opposite corners, one over the other and pinch together.
- Move the cookie to a parchment covered baking sheet, and repeat with all remaining squares, placing the kolaches no closer than 1” apart.
- If desired, sprinkle the middles of the kolaches with just a touch of granulated sugar.
- Bake 12-14 minutes or until the bottom edges are a golden. Remove from oven and let cool slightly on the pan, then move them to a wire rack to cool completely.