Friday, December 30, 2011

Grandma H's Kolache Recipe and Other Disappointments

As my loyal readers (all 2 of them) know, I have been trying for year to get Jon's gran to give me the family recipe for kolaches. There's been a lot of back and forth.

In comes Christmas, and our obligatory family visit. I'm sitting alone, minding my own business, when Grandma H walks up to me with the biggest smile on her face and a little, folded piece of paper in her hands. She makes me come to dining table before she explains that she is giving me something special this Christmas:


I was so excited I almost wet myself! Finally, after 6 years of begging and pleading, I finally got a copy of the recipe. Gran, all proud, smiles and moves on about her holiday party. I quickly unfold the paper and scan for a clue about what I am doing wrong all this time. Then I realize this recipe is a little...vague. What I had clutched in my hands was not a recipe, it was a list of ingredients and their measurements. No other instructions whatsoever. It was as if Santa had shit in my cereal.

I finally get a chance to corner Gran and say very gently..."Um...this recipe seems to be missing the instruction portion, Gran." She laughed and said, "All you have to do is dump this stuff in a mixer. Nothing to it!" All of you that have seem my last June 11th kolache bomb know that is NOT all there is to it. So now I'm doing the delicate dance of "what is she hiding from me?"

Ten minutes later she comes back over and says, "oh, you want to mix your wet ingredients first, then add them to the dry." I dive for a pen, "DOES ANYONE HAVE A BLOODY PEN!!!"

Thirty minutes later she wanders back towards me with a quizzical expression, "Oh you want to make sure that you don't knead the dough. Just pat it down gently or the kolaches will be tough. I think I forgot to mention that."

*me feverishly writing, and thinking, I've never seen a kolache recipe where the dough was pressed flat*
"Pressed flat, Gran?"
"Oh yes," she said. "You have to cut it with a biscuit cutter."

Now I'm beyond confused. That is TOTALLY opposite from what I learned from the Kolache Master several years ago. I sit and stew over this a Gran rejoins the party.

Later I realize, I have no idea how long to cook these for and how many I can expect to get out of a batch. Is she purposefully trying to be elusive?!

I corner Gran in the kitchen again and ask her what to bake these on and how long. She gives me a rough temperature, and says the batch will produce 4-6 dozen. That's a huge variance!

One of Jon's aunts saw me plop down in a fit of exasperation after all of this and kindly wandered over and said this: "You are never going to be able to make them the way she does, because every time you try, she will sneak behind you and put something in the bowl while you have your back turned. That's how they always come out right."

So essentially, I think I am still at square one with the kolache recipe. It's been about 6 months since my last try. I guess it's about time to try again. Perhaps I'll see if I can 1/2 the recipes I do have in order to spare my poor soul kitchen for the tempest that is kolache making.

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