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Kolaches in Bikinis

A dang respectable klobasnik.
Last week, at my sister's beach house, I made a second attempt at kolaches and klobasniky. This time I used my grandmother's recipe, which came from her sister Bessie (Morkovsky) Kocian. It was a family affair with my sister and me and five children ages 2 to 14 all handling the dough.

After much procrastinating throughout the morning and everyone asking each other if they REALLY wanted to do it, we began close to lunchtime, deciding that we needed kolaches for svacina. My oldest son (12) and my sister's oldest son (14) took a break from burying each other in the sand to mix up the dough. The 2, 3, and 6 years olds simply wanted to play with it PlayDough-style (or eat it raw... eeeuuwww.) My pastry chef significant other only came in to the kitchen to approve the quality of the risen dough and then moved back to the couch and the flat screen TV, which I took as a compliment.

I'd brought leftover fillings and posipka from our first attempt (kept in the freezer) and mixed up a new batch of cream cheese filling with lemon (my 12-year-old's favorite). We still didn't have enough. There were several kinds of apples on the counter for snacking, so we peeled and chopped those. My sister added butter, cinnamon, a little apple juice and simmered it all until the apples softened. It made an absolutely delicious filling and one I could imagine any Texas Czech farm wife making from what she had growing on her property. We also used some of the dough to make klobasniky from a link of Janak's sausage (Hallettsville) we pulled out of the freezer.

There is something to be said for making kolaches in a bikini with a pina colada in your hand (my great grandmother was probably rolling over in her grave.) It seemed so easy... the recipe worked like a charm, my sister was an expert dough handler, and all the hands-on from the toddlers didn't seem to phase the puffy little pastries at all. The satisfaction of seeing teenage boys roll dough balls instead of staring at their iPods was incomparable.

Real  teenagers make kolaches.

And the smell! What a lovely experience to come in from the deck with your nose full of salty sea air and be hit with the yeasty, homey aroma of baking kolaches.  I ate two apple right off the pan. My 14-year old nephew ate 6 klobasniky that afternoon. We ate more for breakfast the next morning, took 6 to my mom, and 6 came home to freeze. If we could make kolaches from scratch a little tipsy with very little experience watching five kids while taking breaks to change diapers, I think anyone could do it. It was definitely the opposite of vacation convenience food, but made a great activity for restless people trying to stay out of the worst of the Texas sun from 1 to 3pm.

I've got two more dough recipes to test and then I'll decide which one will be "mine." This dough was preferable to me over the first recipe we tried... less dense, softer. And we managed to get a square shape for the pastries as 24 of them rose and crowded into each other while baking on the cookie sheet. I got a little better shaping the indentation in the center for the filling and I loaded on the posipka. I was proud of them.


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