Growing up, I did a lot of baking with my grandmother. Every fall we went apple picking and made pies, and at Christmastime we made kolaches.
Most of my cousins went for the more sugary cut-out cookies that they would poorly decorate and load with too much frosting and candy bits. But I always loved the apricot kolaches. We would make a few batches so we could nibble throughout the week – but there had to be enough to put out on Christmas Eve. There has to be kolaches on Christmas Eve.
My grandparents have hosted Christmas Eve for over 50 years. My grandfather turned 92 this year. No one knows Gram’s age, you don’t speak of it. I’ve seen the old shaky black and white films from way back with the men dressed in ties and the women with their perfectly set bouffant hair-dos. It was a party.
Growing up it was still a party, but it became a bit more oriented around us kids. Santa arrived as we all sang Jingle Bells in the living room, giving each one of us grandchildren a special gift before we would spend hours opening presents and staying up well past our bed time. Every Christmas was special.
Grandpa would read “Twas The Night Before Christmas,” until a few years ago when he had to pass down the honor to my dad (his only son) because he lost his vision.
Recently my Grandpa broke his leg and had to have major surgery. Getting old is hard. Being old is harder. He is in the nursing home and no one knows if he’ll be home for Christmas. It’s heartbreaking when you think about life and its ways.
Will there be carols sung in the living room this year? Will there be one too many bacon wrapped appetizers on the buffet? No one knows. But I will be making apricot kolaches and making sure to share with Gram and Gramps.
When you cannot see, cannot walk and cannot be in the comfort of your own home, the home you built for your family 55 years ago…it will not feel like Christmas. So when Gramps tastes that cookie that he’s had so many times before…my hope is he will feel just a smidgen of Christmas magic. Because even at the age 92, you still yearn for a little piece of that magic.
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup apricot jam
- Powdered sugar
Combine the cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until combined. Add the flour and mix again until the dough is formed. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill it for 1 hour up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Roll the dough out an ⅛-inch thick on a floured pastry board. Cut it into 2½-inch squares and place a ½ teaspoon of jam in the center of each square. Overlap opposite corners and pinch them together. Place the kolaches on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool the cookies on wire racks. Sprinkle them lightly with confectioner's sugar.