Kolache Cookies

Kolache–Traditional Holiday Cookie

Kolache is a walnut-filled rolled cookie made with yeasted bread.

I have several old, hand-written kolache recipes that I got a couple decades ago from both grandmothers, my mom, and an aunt.

The recipe is from Czechoslovakia. My grandmother on my mom’s side had origins from Czechoslovakia, which is where I originally learned to make this. But growing up in Youngstown, Ohio my Italian relatives all made this cookie at the holidays too. The cookie is traditionally one that was made for weddings.

Make this on a day when you have lots of time, from start to finish I’d allow at least 3 hours.

Makes 6 rolled loaves


For dough:
1 ½ c milk
1 tbl active dry yeast
6½ to 7 c flour
¾ c butter
½ c sugar
½ tsp salt
2 whole eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

For filling:
2 lbs walnuts
2-3 c white or brown sugar
¼ cup butter
2-3 eggs
milk to moisten filling


Start with the dough:

1) Scald milk, let cool until it’s lukewarm.

2) Dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup warm water with  2 tablespoons flour or sugar and let rise in a warm place.

3) Mix the flour, hard butter, sugar and salt and mix with a fork or pastry blender.

4) In the cooled milk, add the beaten eggs, vanilla and risen yeast.

5) Add all at once to flour mixture and knead for 10 minutes. Cover with a clean, dry towel while making filling.

For filling

1) Finely chop walnuts in a food processor, or by hand if you don’t have a processor.

2) Place them in a bowl and add the sugar to taste, melted butter, and eggs. Slowly add a few tablespoons of milk to moisten the filling so that it is more easily spreadable.

Putting it all together

1) Divide the dough into 6 even pieces.

2) Roll out with a rilling pin, making it about twice as long as wide. Roll to about 10 or 12 inches by 6 inches. Dough will be fairly thin.

3) Spread the filling with a fork onto the dough, leaving a slight edge with no dough at one side.

4) Now roll up starting at the long side where the filling is to the edge. (Not the side left with no dough.)

5) Where the dough edge is, press with the back side of a fork to help seal the edge. Note that in the photo, the fork should be turned the other way, facing up. This will be the bottom side of the cookie when baking.

6) Now set a cookie sheet on the counter next to the rolled dough, and gently lift the dough onto the (ungreased) cookie sheet, with the edge of the dough on the bottom. Sometimes I can get 2 kolache onto one cookie sheet, side by side. Other times only one, which I place on the diagonal so that it will bake more evenly, as show in this photo.

7) Bake in a hot oven at 350° for 45 minutes, until dough is nicely browned. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.

8) Wrap with foil to store. Cookies can also be frozen as a loaf.

9) When ready to serve, cut dough on the diagonal. Don’t cut until ready to serve. Leftovers can be warmed and eaten with a little butter.

Good luck! Find me on Facebook at Cindy’s Garden to Table and message me with any questions you have.


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