Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Got Your Kolache!

I've loved kolaches for about as long as I can remember, so when Erica mentioned that she grew up eating homemade kolaches and had a recipe she could share with me, I was sold!

I've always loved cream cheese kolaches myself, but requests were made for some fruit fillings as well. In the end we had plain cream cheese, apricot, and cherry kolaches, as well as cream-cheese-apricot and cream-cheese-cherry.

You'll have to excuse the time-stamp on the photos. We were at my parents' lake house and I hadn't brought my camera with me that weekend, so I had to borrow my niece's camera.

Authentic Czech Kolaches

1 cup milk
1 packet yeast
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup shortening
3 - 3 1/2 cups flour

Warm the milk and pour into a bowl. Dissolve yeast, sugar, and salt in the milk. Add the beaten egg and shortening, mixing well. Add flour. The dough is ready when it "chases the spoon around the bowl" - usually 3 - 3 1/2 cups of flour.

Cover the dough in the bowl and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 2-4 hours.

Melt a stick of butter. Grease the tops of two cookie sheets and preheat the oven to 350. After the dough has risen, punch it down in the bowl. Lightly flour a work surface. Portion out dough into roughly tablespoon-sized portions. Roll the pieces of dough in your palm to form balls. Evenly space dough balls on cookie sheets and brush with melted butter. Allow them to proof for an additional 20-40 minutes.

Press an indentation in the center of each ball and fill with a heaping teaspoon of filling. Allow kolaches to set for 10 minutes more before baking.

Sprinkle with posypka (recipe below). Bake for 15-20 minutes. Kolaches should be a light gold brown in color when done.

Yield: Approximately 24 kolaches.

Cream Cheese Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat ingredients together in medium sized bowl until incorporated.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Source: Adapted from Grandma Kaspar and Texas Monthly, courtesy of Erica

A Bowl Full of Chickpea Goodness

So it's been another long absence - this whole moving thing really eats up your time! But now that we're settled in San Antonio, it's time for some long-overdue updates. First up - hummus!

I LOVE me some hummus! This was my first attempt at actually making it, but it couldn't be easier!

Garlic Hummus

2 15.5 oz cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
5 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
Juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup Tahini (sesame paste)
1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus additional

Drain and rinse the beans (you can reserves some of the liquid to be used in place of the olive oil). Place everything but the olive oil in the food processor and process until smooth. Stream in the olive oil (you may need a bit more than 1 Tablespoon; alternately, you can use some of the reserved liquid from the chickpeas to reach the desired consistency).

I like to serve it drizzled with additional olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt or kosher salt. Enjoy with pita, carrot sticks, or whatever your heart desires!

Yield: Approximately 2 cups

Source: Adapted from The Eat Clean Cookbook, via Foodie Bride