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Sep 16, 2012 01:48 PM

Polish kolaczki / kolatchky / kolace spelling????

Any Polish people or expats in Poland out there who can help me on this one?!
My Grandmother (no longer alive) came from an all-Polish family. There is a recipe in our family that has been passed down through the generations, but unfortunately the correct spelling has been forgotten. I just know we pronounced it something like: Koh-lah-ch-ki. It is NOT the sweet (sometimes braided) bread from the Eastern European region that goes by the name "kalács" in Hungarian and similar names in neighboring countries. Rather, it is a small pastry made with squares of dough with the corners tucked up and filled with fruit, poppyseed or sweet cheese filling. Americans would probably call it a cookie.

And it seems like a lot of Polish Americans are posting family recipes for it online. It just seems like nobody can agree on how it is spelled.
Google it, and the results are mind boggling! There seem to be 100 variations on the spelling and no concensus on which is the correct. Kolache, kolacke, kolace, kolachy kolatchki, kalatchki, kolaczki, kolaczky, and kolacky all seem to be in circulation, just to name a few....
There must be a standard Polish spelling and pronunciation for this pastry!
Does anyone know what it is? If so, please share!

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    1. re: todao

      I just clicked on your link and all I could think of was Christmas Eve at my grandmother's. Thank you for a wonderful memory.

    2. Kolaczki is the Polish spelling (pronounced kolatchky). It's a diminutive form, so kolace could be a logical name for bigger ones, but I've never heard or seen it.

      One problem with words coming from Slavic languages is that while they all sound similar they use different spellings or alphabets. When they get written down phonetically it gets even more complicated, since simple Polish phonemes like -cz are pronounced like English -ch or -tch, -ce is like English -tse, -w is pronounced -v, etc. Polish is a phonetic language, it just doesn't use the same pronunciations for letters and combinations that English does.

      2 Replies
      1. re: tardigrade

        This pretty much nails it.

        I have a russyn cookbook that uses multiple spellings for things. I'll have to check, but I think they use kolachky.

        interestingly, they have a list of what fillings are made into what shapes. Only the lekvar and apricot ones would be square.

        1. re: j8715

          Looked at the book. . . They also use kolacky and kolachi. Three spellings all in one book.

      2. Not Polish but I live in Chicago where kolachkys are well-known as there are more Polish people here than in any city on earth except for Warsaw. Two varieties are sold. 1) The sweet roll kind---a yeast dough is cut into small round sweet rolls like a miniature Danish---they have a gob of filling in the center. These are usually found in Slavic bakeries. I know of one bakery here that advertises 15 flavors of these. 2) Cookie-type kolachkys---m ore common in supermarkets. These are small pastries made with a rich unraised dough cut into squares then the edges are pulled together on the diagonal over a gob of filling in the center. Homemade kolachkys of the latter "cookie" kind may be made with cream cheese or a pint of premium ice cream, melted, and always a lot of butter.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Querencia

          Same story here, but I always saw them spelled kolaczki in Chicago.

        2. Kolache if you are in a Czech bakery in Nebraska. A finer companion for a fine cup of coffee cant be found.

          1. They are big in Bohemian/Czech cooking (kolacky) from whence they became big in Austria--called "Kolatschen" in German. Apparently around 200 years ago Austrian bakers took them to Denmark, where they are called "Vienese pasteries". From Denmak, they came to the US--voila: we have Danish.
            Just a factoid--but that's the root of the American Danish.