Swedish, I think, pastries my dad makes, and made for me on Christmas. Small sweet rolls with a thumprinted indention in the top, filled with jam or poppyseeds. White frosting around the edge. mmmm. Dad is good.

Kolaches are traditional Czech pastries. They're often filled with some sort of fruit pie filling or soft cheese, and are alternately glazed, sugared, or frosted. Personally, sugared ones are the best. The ones I've had were somewhat like really fluffy doughnut bread, but not quite... they just had something undefineably Czech about them, I guess.

You can find great kolaches in north-central Texas. Personally, I like the town of West, Texas, because it's right on the way to Austin, and there are at least four reputable bakeries 50 yards from the interstate. I've heard that Caldwell, Texas is the place to go, though - they have to annual Kolache Festival. Nummy.

Here's a recipe that I've dredged up.

Step 1: Combine 2 cups of milk, 2 teaspoons of salt, 4 tablespoons of Crisco and 4 tablespoons of sugar. Scald and set aside.

Step 2: Combine 1/2 cup warm water and 2 packages or 2 tablespoons of dry yeast. Set aside to dissolve.

Step 3: After the yeast has totally dissolved, add the mixture to the milk from step 1 and drop in two eggs and 6-6 1/2 cups of flour.

Step 4: Mix it all together, then work up the dough to a soft, smooth finish. Cover with a cloth and let it rise to about twice the bulk. This usually takes close to an hour. Then, work up the dough again. Cover with a cloth and let it rise a second time.

After it rises a second time, roll the dough out onto a flour-covered counter like you would biscuits. Then cut out circles 2 1/2 - 3 inches in diameter. Place the circles on a greased pan and make indentions in the center. Fill with filling, let rise, then bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until the kolaches have a light brown finish. Be careful to not bake them too long. Yields about 6 to 7 dozen.

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