I really struggled whether or not to post about kolache (a Czechoslovakian dough). On one hand I wanted to share an amazing recipe yet on the other hand I wanted to preserve the secret recipe within my family. So, I came up with a compromise: I’ll post on the process without revealing our specific recipe. I trust you’ll thank me anyway, because everything is a “pinch of this” and “a little of that” which my grandmother was infamous for. It’s quite maddening. Instead, check out this very simple kolache recipe. So much of the dough is the feel of it and knowing how bubbly is bubbly enough or too bubbly. It takes practice. A few years ago (my first holiday season on the East Coast away from my family) my sister and I were Skyping, she in tears over her disastrous dough. It was her first attempt making them alone. Just three years later though and she is a bonafide kolache master.
Our holiday tradition is to make the dough and turn it into several different treats: poppy seed “pie”, crescent rolls, and sticky rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning. If you have the time and a special brunch approaching, though, I don’t think the recipe needs to be reserved solely for holidays. Splurge and make the most indulgent and delicious sticky rolls you’re sure to ever taste.
Steps to remember when preparing the dough:
1. Let the yeast, warm milk, and warm water sit until the yeast is dissolved. Then add flour until a thick gravy is achieved.
2. Let the mixture sit until it rises and is bubbly.
3. Add eggs and butter and combine with a wooden spoon.
4. Then (still with the wooden spoon) add the sugar and salt followed by gradually adding in the flour (1/2 cup at a time).
5. Let rise until doubled in size (at least two hours).
6. Always handle the dough with floured hands and on a floured surface. I especially love this marble pastry board which keep doughs cool and manageable.
7. Trust your instincts! If you think the dough needs more flour but you’ve already used the specified amount, add more flour. You’re probably right.
These are some good bubbles after the mixtures are combined.
Kolache dough is very precious and can easily be over-kneaded. Just a few minutes will do.
To make the gooey, delicious insides of the sticky rolls:
Melt 1/2 cup of butter, add in brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chopped pecans to taste. The mixture should be thick enough to hold its shape. If it’s too liquidy it will drip right off the dough.
These are perfect to prepare the day before and refrigerate until the morning of. They’ll continue to rise so ensure there’s room in the (greased) baking dish. Cook at 350° for 30-35 minutes, until browned on top.
To make the cream cheese frosting (obviously a necessity), beat together four ounces softened cream cheese and 1/4 cup room temperature butter. When combined beat in 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract. I never said these were healthy.
For the crescent rolls, simply roll out the dough and cut into triangles. Roll the triangle (bigger end to smaller end), brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes.