Maddie, Becky, Ben, Kallie, and Sandy
I hope that everyone had a wonderful (and safe) Christmas. The five of us traveled to Toledo to spend Christmas with Ben's family. On Christmas Eve my beautiful mother-in-law prepared a lavish (and most delicious) spread for seventeen (yes, I said 17) and then it was off to the Christmas tree for the Walgreens gift exchange. This has become a fun tradition where we draw names the day before and then go shopping at Walgreens to find the "perfect" gift for a whole $5!! This adventure has resulted in some very interesting finds, including some unexpectedly nice ones...although, I have a double dare issued to Ben to actually try the beer and nuts he got from cousin Nick this year ;-)
The real event of the evening was the 3rd Annual Kolacky Contest. Ben enters this contest, not I, as he has told me I'm not "allowed" to because I'm not "blood" (Slovak that is). Who's to argue?...he makes a fine kolacky and it's one less thing for me to make each year :-) The kolacky are judged on appearance, how much filling makes it to the end of the roll, taste, and similarity to the original (that would be Chief's, Ben's grandmother). Cousin Maddie entered for the first time and snapped up the first place prize, proving to everyone that she is the reincarnation of Chief in whose honor the contest was started. Ben perfected his pastry this year, but cut back on his poppy seed filling...a move that resulted in a slide from last year's second place winning (after his mother's, who can argue?) to third this year :-( There's always next year...but he's going to have to compete against Christopher who says he's entering next year :-)
I'm giving you the recipe that everyone uses. This recipe does not include a lot of detail, but is as it was passed down from Chief, so it is up to each baker to interpret it...Ben's family traditionally uses poppy seed filling for the large rolls pictured here, but there are a multitude of fillings available. Ben's Aunt kallie makes absolutely delicious, melt in your mouth, small kolacky and my favorite of these have an apricot filling.
1 pkg. yeast (proofed)
2 sticks butter
2 tbs. sour cream
1 cup half and half
4 egg yolks (beaten)
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tbs. sugar
4 cups flour
Mix together, add yeast mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Punch, knead, and divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll to 1/4" thickness in a rectangle. Spread filling 1" from edge, roll up, and place on a greased baking sheet. Allow to rise two hours covered with plastic wrap. Brush with butter, pierce holes in the top with a toothpick or fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.