Reprinted from Rust Belt Vegan Kitchen with permission from Belt Publishing.
I’ve struggled to imagine a dough that would mimic the egg yolk and sour cream base of my grandma’s perfect kolacky. But the answer was there in front of me all along. Rather than the traditional kolacky fold—square with just the corners tucked in, filling still exposed—she cuts hers into a triangle shape, fills, then rolls into a crescent.
Not long ago, I was listening to the podcast Teaching Jasmine How to Cook Vegan when a guest shocked host Jasmine Singer by revealing that Pillsbury Crescent Rolls were vegan. There it was! While this is not an exact replica of my grandmother’s kolacky, the dough is a solid way to deliver her perfect nut filling, which is really the star of the show. And I think she would appreciate the practicality of it.
- 2 cans of Pillsbury Crescent Roll dough
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 cups ground walnuts
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup oat milk
Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a pan on the stove, mix the walnuts and sugar over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon. Keep moving them around so they don’t burn.
Slowly add the oat milk a little at a time and keep stirring. As the nuts cook and the sugar melts, the mixture will become like a paste. Keep mixing until the mixture starts to sizzle and bubble, then remove from the stove. Spread the nut mixture out onto a plate and let cool.
Prepare your work surface for assembly: mix the powdered sugar and the granulated sugar. Sprinkle a handful of the mixture over your work area. You’re going to assemble the kolacky on this mixture instead of on a floured surface. This is to sweeten the dough and to get the bottoms caramelized.
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Take the dough out of the fridge. Take apart the perforated triangles. On the short side of each triangle, put a small scoop of the nut mixture. Roll up into a crescent shape, tucking in the sides. You don’t want the filling to leak out when baking, so pinch the dough around the filling the best you can. It’ll probably take a little experimenting to master exactly how much filling goes into each cookie. You want plenty of that delicious filling in each bite but want to avoid exploding kolacky.
After the pastries are rolled, press the bottom (point-side down) into the powdered sugar/white sugar mixture just to make sure the bottoms get enough on them. Bake 13–15 minutes, watching carefully not to burn the bottom, until the tops are golden. Sprinkle with powdered sugar when cool.
Rust Belt Vegan Kitchen Tip
Extra filling stores well in the freezer. If the shaping of the kolacky is a little too challenging, you can also try rolling out the can of dough into one long piece (sealing the perforations), spreading the nut mixture down one side, and rolling like a strudel. Bake and slice.