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Maple Pecan Kolaches (Kolace/Kolacky)

Have you ever heard of Kolaches?  (Kolache/kolace/kolacky.)  They are a Czech pastry that consist of a puffy, soft dough with a nice dollop of sweet filling in the middle.  I first heard of and tasted Kolaches when one of my awesome coworkers brought them in to the office from a local bakery down in Provo for a treat.  When they arrived and I saw the boxes filled with beautiful dough that was either topped with sweet fruity toppings or stuffed with savory meats, (savory ones are usually called klobásník/klobasnek/klobásníky), I was in heaven.  They were absolutely scrumptious!  I recently saw them again on Divers Drive-Ins & Dives when Guy visited the Hruska's bakery in Salt Lake City, Utah and watching the gal make them, I knew I had to try and recreate them myself

I have baked these little beauties quite a few times now to test out different methods and types of dough, and I feel like the dough is finally perfect to share.  These Kolaches are made with a soft, buttery brioche type dough that puffs up perfectly and melts in your mouth.  I have tried a couple of different sweet toppings, but this maple pecan version is definitely my families favorite.  (You can tell when they all just disappear.)  It's a cross between a cinnamon roll and a sweet danish and I think you are going to love them!  My next adventure will be doing my quick sausage gravy, (that I usually spoon over freshly baked biscuits), stuffed in the dough. I'll let you know how that turns out!

Recipe Note:  You can brush these with egg wash, (1 egg yolk whisked together with 1 Tbsp water), before filling if  you want a more golden color, which I did for some batches, but I have read traditional Kolaches are actually quite pale. I love these just the way they are.

Dough Ingredients:
10 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup warm whole milk
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
4-4 1/2 cups AP flour
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
1 tsp salt

Maple cream cheese filling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp maple extract 

1 cup chopped pecans
3 Tbsp brown sugar

Combine the warm melted butter and warm milk in the bottom of your mixing bowl.  Add the yeast, sugar, AP flour, egg yolks and salt, place the bowl on your stand mixer and using your dough hook, let the mixture knead for about 5 minutes.  (I use speed 2 on my KitchenAid mixer.)  The dough will be nice and smooth.  Cover and let rise for 1 hour until doubled in size.  

Prepare 2 baking pans by lining with parchment paper or silicone mats.  Punch down the dough and divide it in to 24 evenly sized portions.  I like to weigh mine on a kitchen scale so they are pretty even, but  (Each portion is usually around 1.5 oz.)  Roll each portion in to a ball and place on the prepared baking pans, (divide equally), then cover each pan lightly with a clean towel and let rise another 20 minutes in a warm place.  (I usually let my oven heat just for a minute or two, not letting it get above 100 degrees or so, then turn the oven off and let the rolls rise in there.)

To make the maple cream cheese filling:  Beat together the softened cream cheese and granulated sugar.  Beat in the egg yolk.  Beat in the powdered sugar and maple extract till nice and smooth.  

When ready to fill and bake, preheat your oven to 350.  Use a 1/4 cup measure to make a well in the middle of each ball of dough on the prepared baking sheet and then use your fingers to tap down until they have a nice indent with a rim around the edge.  

Use a small cookie scoop to fill each well with the maple cream cheese filling, (about 1/2-3/4 of a scoop in each one), sprinkle with the chopped pecans and the brown sugar, then let sit 10 additional minutes with the filling in them before baking.  

Bake 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until just starting to turn brown.

If you like to see pictures of the process, here are some at various stages!

Dough after being mixed for 5 minutes and ready to rest.

After 1 hour rise, doubled in size.

Rolled in to aprox 1.5oz balls of dough.

Use a 1/4 cup measure to make a well.  You will need to use your fingers after to help it retain.

Use the small cookie scoop to help fill with maple filling
and then sprinkle with brown sugar & pecans.

Bake for 18-20 mins until they just get a tiny bit brown!


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