Monday, April 1, 2013

Craving Kolache

When we lived near New Braunfels, Texas in the mid 90's, we were lucky to have not only the best Tex-Mex food, but descendants of Czech immigrants continued the rich tradition of making the kolache. In central Texas, kolaches outshine doughnuts. “Koláče (the Czech spelling) are little square pastries that hold a dollop of fruit (apricot or prune, apple, strawberry or blueberry) rimmed by a puffy pillow of dough. Fruit and cheese kolaches are old-world standards but a sausage link version, Czech klobasniki (pigs-in-a-blanket) are a Texas breakfast favorite. Bakeries offer regular and hot-sausage versions, adding cheese and jalapeño peppers and even sauerkraut. Americanized meal-in-one kolaches with pockets of bacon, egg and cheese are served at convenience stores along side sausage biscuits.

Naegelin's Bakery in New Braunfels turns 144 years old this year, being the oldest continuously operating bakery in the state of Texas. The fresh cookies, pastries, pies and cakes from the family-run bakery are of historic proportions and a timeless quality. The Granzin family still uses recipes developed by the Naegelin family during more than a century of experimentation to get just the right ingredients.

As you walk into the front door of the bakery the sweet smell of baked foods engulfs you like a warm blanket. The glass cases are full of what seems like an almost endless array and rainbow of cookies and pastries.The bakery is still famous for their strudels that Naegelin perfected years ago. The Granzin's have added terrific sausage kolaches to the menu of fruit filled ones.

This recipe is from the Texas Holiday Cookbook by Dottie Griffith
(Dottie is Dining Editor and Restaurant Critic for the Dallas Morning News).
It's my go~to cookbook for treasured Texas recipes that are hard to find...

(Czech Sweet Rolls)
2 packages dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm (105~115 degree) water
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugarKolaches
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
5~6 cups flour
Fillings (see below)
Sprinkle yeast over warm water, stirring to activate. Set aside.

Heat milk to almost boiling. Remove from heat. Add butter and stir to melt. Add sugar and salt. Pour into large mixing bowl and allow to cool to lukewarm. Stir in egg and add yeast mixture.
Add flour gradually, about 2 cups at a time, stirring after each addition to make a soft, sticky dough. Do not add too much flour or kolaches will be dense and dry. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Begin preparing fillings while dough rises.
Grease a baking sheet well. Rub hands with grease too. Using well greased hands, shape dough into 2- inch balls. Place on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise again until doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using your thumb, make and indention in the center of each roll, leaving a 1-inch rim. Allow to rest 10 minutes. Fill with about 1 tablespoon fruit or cheese filling and bake 20-25 minutes or until golden.
Makes about 3 dozen
*Combine 1 cup dried fruit (6-ounce package of apricots, prunes or apples) in just enough water to cover in a small saucepan. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until fruit is soft, about 10-12 minutes. Drain fruit and chop fine. Return to saucepan along with 1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 4 tablespoons butter. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture thickens like jam, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.

*Combine 1 cup cream cheese or dry curd cottage cheese with 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg yolk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 3 tablespoons melted butter. Mix until smooth.
Printable Recipe

The version I'm craving today is the breakfast Sausage and Jalapeno Kolache that Texans enjoy at their favorite drive-thrus! Easy to make, simply wrap a three-inch flattened piece of dough around a two-inch piece of sausage and a couple of pickled jalapeno slices. Bake 375 for 12- 15 minutes. If I could just get my hands on some Meyer's Elgin Sausage....

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