Apricot and Orange Blossom Kolacky

updated Feb 3, 2020
Apricot and Orange Blossom Kolacky

This kolacky recipe takes advantage of the lightness of a cream cheese dough, and combines it with a scratch-made apricot filling with a tiny bit of orange blossom water.

Makesabout 4 dozen kolacky

Prep45 minutes

Cook45 minutes

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One of the first things people mention when you talk about Christmas baking Midwest-style is kolacky. Like its Jewish cousin rugelach, kolacky starts with an easy cream cheese dough and is filled with various fillings, usually fruity ones, but they are simpler to form, and they look so pretty tucked into cookie tins. 

My kolacky recipe takes advantage of the ease and lightness of a cream cheese dough, and combines it with a scratch-made apricot filling woken up with a tiny bit of orange blossom water — infinitely more flavorful than a canned filling.

Lekvar is a coarse, thick jam with Hungarian roots, and works beautifully as a filling for kolacky, kolache, cookies, and pastries of just about any origin. This recipe makes a lot, but any leftovers freeze beautifully. This same method can be used for dried cherries, prunes, and figs, adjusting the sugar, acid, and flavorings to taste to suit the sweetness of the fruit.

Apricot and Orange Blossom Kolacky

This kolacky recipe takes advantage of the lightness of a cream cheese dough, and combines it with a scratch-made apricot filling with a tiny bit of orange blossom water.

Prep time 45 minutes

Cook time 45 minutes

Makes about 4 dozen kolacky

Nutritional Info


For the apricot and orange blossom lekvar (makes about 2 1/2 cups):

  • 1 pound

    dried apricots

  • 2/3 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • Pinch fine sea salt

  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons

    orange blossom water, to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

For the dough:

  • 4 ounces

    full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 1 stick

    unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 3 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    finely grated orange zest

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    almond extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    fine sea salt

  • 1 cup

    unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for dusting

  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

For the filling:

  • 1 cup

    Apricot and Orange Blossom Lekvar


Make the levkar filling:

  1. In a 3-quart lidded saucepan, place the apricots and cover with them water by about 1 inch. Cover, place over high heat, and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, add the sugar, lemon juice, and salt, and stir to combine. Replace the lid. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is softened, about 20 minutes.

  2. Remove the lid from the pan and continue to simmer, stirring often, until the excess liquid has evaporated and the lekvar becomes thick and jammy and breaks down easily with a fork, about 10 minutes more. Transfer the contents of the pan to a food processor or blender. Blend until nearly smooth. Add 1 teaspoon of the orange blossom water and the vanilla. Blend for 30 seconds more. Taste, adding more orange blossom water, if you like. Pour the lekvar into a heatproof container and let cool uncovered at room temperature. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks, or freeze for up to 1 year.

Prepare the dough:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the orange zest, vanilla, almond extract, and salt, and beat for 1 minute more. Reduce the speed to low and gradually stir in the flour. To avoid overmixing, when a few streaks of flour remain finish mixing the dough by hand. Line a work surface with plastic wrap and turn out the dough onto it. Gently pat the dough into a rectangle and wrap tightly. Chill at least 2 hours, or overnight.

  2. Position an oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat it to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  3. To shape the cookies, lightly dust a work surface with flour. Roll out the dough to a rough 13x17-inch rectangle, about 1/16-inch thick (you need a thin dough to get crisp cookies that don’t unfurl while baking). Re-flour the surface as needed to prevent sticking. Use a pizza cutter to trim 1/2 inch from all 4 sides to make a clean, straight-edged 12x16-inch rectangle. From there, cut the dough into 4 dozen (2-inch) squares. Place 1 scant teaspoon of filling in the center of each square, spreading the filling across the square in a diagonal strip. Focusing on the 2 bare corners of the square, fold 1 over the filling, then fold the opposite corner on top, pinching gently to seal.

  4. Place the cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets, 2 dozen to a sheet. (Place 1 sheet of cookies in the refrigerator while you bake the first.) Bake until lightly golden at the bottom and edges, about 20 minutes in total, rotating the sheet 180 degrees halfway through the baking time. Let the cookies cool briefly on the baking sheet before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely. Dust generously with powdered sugar.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Reprinted with permission from MIDWEST MADE © 2019 by Shauna Sever, Running Press.

This recipe is a part Shauna Sever’s Week of Desserts. You can find all the recipes here.