December 12th, 2013
01:30 PM ET
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CNN photojournalist John Bodnar is a second-generation Slavic-American whose grandparents emigrated from Eastern Slovakia, and his mother’s Carpatho-Rusyn ethnicity is the prominent influence for his cultural and family traditions. Previously, he wrote about haluski, holupki and paska.

I’ve always enjoyed the Slovak food my mother and extended family prepares. We eat these dishes at every family gathering: weddings, funerals and holiday celebrations. We eagerly approach the buffet display to find the holupki and haluski that usually occupy the first few trays, but at the end of the tables are the treats.

Cookies and cakes dominate that section, but the pastry that has always delighted my palate is the kolachi nut roll. Kolachi (sometimes spelled "kolache") is the name often given to a standard type of Slavic dough-filled pastry. Our kolachi is rolled dough filled with a walnut mixture, but other families fill theirs with a poppy seed mixture.

My aunt Eleanor was always celebrated as the one whose recipe held the quality edge over the other family members'. Obviously, this unofficial title has been disputed, but I concede that hers had a slight advantage in my childhood memories.

But Eleanor’s health eventually left her unable to make the delicious kolachi. As her health was failing, she insisted that her daughter Renee learn her kolachi recipe and carry on the tradition and her legacy. My cousin Renee embraced her mother’s challenge, and carries, in my mind, the title for making the best kolachi nut roll.

Aunt Eleanor's Kolachi Nut Rolls
Makes six nut rolls

Prepare the nut mixture first, then set it aside while you prepare the dough.

Nut mixture

8 cups of finely-ground walnuts
5 cups of sugar

Mix these in a bowl, adding warm milk until the mixture is at an easily spreadable consistency.


– Step one ingredients:

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cake solid yeast, crumbed
1 Tablespoon sugar

Warm the milk in a pan on the stove, but don't make it too hot. Remove it from the stove, add the yeast and sugar and stir lightly once. Let it sit and begin to ferment.

– Step two ingredients:

6 cups of flour
1 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 lb margarine, softened (do not substitute - it must be margarine)
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
Melted butter, for brushing

In a large bowl, combine 5 cups of the flour, the salt and the sugar.

Stir in the softened margarine until totally incorporated.

Add the eggs, sour cream and yeast mixture and mix. Then add remaining flour until the dough is at a consistency where it can be rolled.

When the dough is mixed, it is important that you don’t let it rise, either before rolling or baking. This ensures that the dough remains thin.

Divide the dough into six equal parts. Then roll the dough thinly into an approximately 18”x18” square.

Spread the filling on the dough and gently roll it into a long, tight cylinder. Be sure to pinch or push in the ends of the roll so the filling stays in.

Before baking, puncture the top of the rolls every few inches with a fork.

Bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes until light brown. Brush with butter while the rolls are still hot.

Cool before slicing and wrap with plastic wrap and freeze or eat within one week.

Got a favorite family recipe you'd care to share, or some warm kolachi memories of your own (or, gasp, a better recipe)? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

More about holiday cookies:
Have a sweet holiday and save kitchen memories while you can
What's black and white and delicious all over?
A family's secret sugar cookie recipe
5@5 – Tips for gluten-free cookies
- See more homemade holiday gifts

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Filed under: Baked Goods • Christmas • Cookies • Cooking • Cultural Identity • Culture • Family Recipe Index • Holidays • Make • Recipes • Step-by-Step

soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. cookingforsingles

    I'd love to see your take on Lokshe. It's a slovak potato dough "pancake." My grandmother made it every time she came to visit, in addition to the nut rolls. I was a lucky girl!

    March 19, 2014 at 10:27 am |
  2. Lou

    I am of Slovenian/Slovak heritage. Have two cook books many people would love to have. One is a Slovak-American hard cover book, shows a 1952 printing. The second book is my prize. The Slovak church in Western PA that my Mother and her parents attended had the women of the parish submit their various ethnic recipes which were included in the book, with age its falling apart. With no publish date, my guess is in the 1940's or 50's. The book includes how to can foods, make candy, pies and pie crust. cookies, frostings, cakes, bread and rolls, various desserts, soups and casseroles, all from scratch. There are so many good recipes, I gave up trying to make them all.

    December 29, 2013 at 6:09 am |
  3. Xmas Elf

    This and many other recipes are widely available and popular all over in Eastern EU.
    Every nation calls it differently but I wouldn't call it Slovak. Search "poppy seed roll wiki" to see all the variants..
    My fiancee who is Ukrainian knows it as well from her childhood so I think it would be difficult to "award" anyone with all the mixing :) with the invention.
    In Hungary we call it BEIGLI, serve it in 2 versions with poppy seed and with wallnuts and traditionally we do it around Christmas but it's awesome any day of the year.

    If you want to make it (and I highly recommend it) search "How to make beigli wikihow"

    December 29, 2013 at 3:49 am |
  4. hates bad food

    Does anyone know how to make apple strudel? with nuts.

    December 29, 2013 at 1:56 am |
    • hates bad food

      and what happens if you go to gluten free flours?

      December 29, 2013 at 1:58 am |
      • hates bad food

        i'm scared of yeast so i never get very far with these.

        December 29, 2013 at 1:59 am |
        • hates bad food

          and eggs. some things sound good and smell good, but i couldn't actually eat them. they're not really food.

          December 29, 2013 at 2:01 am |
  5. Carson

    Wow, my family is also from Western Pennsylvania. I'm from German roots and didn't know there were a lot of eastern Europeans who settled there, nor why they chose the region to settle-in.....but now it makes sense. I grew up with many of these dishes (spelled a bit differently)....but so loved halushka, halupki, nut rolls and much more. All I know is that my mother and grandmother are both gone and I don't have their recipes......I can approximate both halushka (and make a lot) and halupki, but haven't mastered getting the cabbage to the right consistency that they can be molded around the filling, but aren't too mushy. Always loved the combination tomato soup and tomato sauce. Brings back memories.

    December 29, 2013 at 1:24 am |
    • hates bad food

      Seems like should have a section to record our ancestors best recipes. Could make a custom category I suppose.

      December 29, 2013 at 1:58 am |
    • Jozef

      Cabbage or "brindza" is hard to do it a Slovac specific cheese so if you can´t buy it already prepared I am almost certaint the chances in doing it from a recipe are really small. However there are so many amazing recipes here but the problem is that some of the ingredients simply do not exist in the US or anywhere around. Regards from Slovakia ;)

      October 9, 2014 at 2:09 am |
  6. Tracey

    Since there are so many here posting Eastern Europe food names/recipes, does anyone know anything about a Hungarian dish that's basically (to my mind) like Spätzle but is Hungarian/Slovak/Czech? These tiny dumplings (just made in salted water, often served with sauerbraten) are one of the very few "connections" I have to my mother (age 84) 's side of the family, who were originally from Hungary (last name Chobot) in the late 1880s. My mom said her grandmom and mom made these in the early 1920-1930s and she made it for me as a kid in the 1970s in Alaska... I know very little about cooking and about this part of the world, but I want to know more.

    December 29, 2013 at 12:09 am |
    • Jozef

      Tbh Chobot is a typical Czecho-Slovak surname. And it can also be translated from it to english :) I am thinking hard to which of our recipes here does you description fit most but I am also lost in your naming it is probably a mix of english-memories-and how you remember it but may be totally different name around here. I would maybe search it under: "makove rezance" but simply I would need to know ingredents to say exactly

      October 9, 2014 at 2:18 am |
      • Jozef

        oh and also "trnkove gule" :))) try to google these 2 ;)

        October 9, 2014 at 2:19 am |
  7. Anne

    A Transylvanian specialty, too! It is called Nuss Strietzel.

    December 28, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
  8. zuzana elkova

    Hi !
    I am from Slovakia. I am so happy and proud that on cnn web side , people can read about our traditional food. Thank you.
    But correct is KOLACKY not Kolachi or orechový závin ( nutty roll ) Is also possible to fill it with chocolate or poppy seed. Slovaks like kolacky. We have lot of another kinds. Lot of people use to bake kolacky every weekend.
    Bryndzove halusky ( something like a dumplings with sheep cheese and bacon ) is traditional food and it is Yummy. Come to Slovakia and try :D

    Thank you for a nice blog. Happy new year 2014

    December 28, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  9. -betsy

    Sorry, Druckfehler – a ton is 2000 lbs. The Kraut came from Ismaning, just outside of Munich, which is known for its rich soil. It was such a rush to see Andreas unload these cabbages. It was even more interesting to see the Food Inspector's reaction.....

    December 26, 2013 at 7:06 am |
  10. -betsy

    Oh, how I envy so many of you! My grandma was 1st generation American, roots in Eastern Europe (it depended on the year as to whom one belonged to). She was a fabulous cook, and baker, dispelling the myth that one is either/or.
    For years we grew up with Kolache (also called "cold dough cakes") and nut rolls, and poppy seed rolls. Now, the parents are ageing, the children are dispersed throughout the world, and my mother no longer bakes.
    There is a cookbook published by the Jednota Society (I think in Ohio), which can be ordered online, for the small sum of $12. It's compiled by many women, throughout the States, who are of this descent.
    This July I moved from the US back to Europe. This is one of the books that the movers "lost", along with my cookbook of compiled family recipes (20 + years!).
    My grandma used to make her mushroom soup with a papinki mushroom. No, ther're not porcinis. Ask a local mushroom fanatic, and they'll probably know what you mean. They are usually sold dried, but I've successfully grown them in nearby woods.
    Please do not be too disheartened when grandma dies, and the family recipes as well. I've worked at markets in various countries, and it's always the same thing – Grandma died, and no one knows how to make this anymore. Take heart – cooking with children is very much in trend. My grandma grew up on a farm. They would put up their own sauerkraut, putting a few whole heads in the middle, to later make halupki. She laughed so much when I told her that I sold sauerkraut and pickled cabbage in Munich (one year, we put up a ton – a real ton, 200lbs – and I had a customer who took 5 heads with her to Greece. I had to wrap them each in 3 bags, as she was travelling by air! I don't think that I'd have wanted to sit next to her!

    December 26, 2013 at 7:02 am |
    • Jozef

      hi there "halupky" or how you call is ai HALUSKY :) to be more precise BRINDZOVE HALUSKY and is Slovak national food. So you must not come from far. Borth of the meals you mentioned are very common in SLovakia :) cooking is good and in my family everyone cooks like crazy ... we have actually so many cookies "kolace" :) that I am not able to eat it with the rest of the youngsters .. and we are a big family .. a really big one :))) and my supergrandma can bake for aaaaal :) my grandparents are becoming 90 soon and still worl all day long in their garden , my grandpa has bees and a lot of naimals too .. really nice andtraditional. Love it! :)

      October 9, 2014 at 2:28 am |
  11. Ellie

    I made this and was so excited but it did not raise in the oven and the dough split. Taste is good but not as the picture shows. Any suggestions?

    December 23, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • Fiona

      Did you proof your yeast? You may have had expired yeast, or may have used too-hot milk and killed it.
      Splitting in this kind of pastry usually means you overfilled it and/or rolled it too tight.

      December 28, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
  12. M. Smith (Verkin)

    My parents immigrated from Slovakia in 1912. My family still has saurkraut/mushroom soup on Christmas eve and we all bake nut roll as well as the other ethnic foods.Enjoyed the comments.
    My maiden name was Verkin.
    Are there any of you out there???

    December 18, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Fenris

      [raises hand] Me! Christmas Eve dinner, served when the Evening star comes out: pierogies, mushroom soup, herring in cream sauce, oplatki, with kolatchki for dessert. Nice to "meet" you here.

      December 24, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
  13. wkrasneski

    Wow! Brings back great memories of my Grandmother's baking! I too am second generation Slovak, with my Grandmother emigrating from Dlhe nad Cirochou (Eastern Slovakia) in the early 1900's. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel there with my Daughter this past summer and stayed with cousins. The cooking their is amazing, and is only surpassed by the kindness and generosity of the people! Thanks for the article!

    December 18, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  14. JR Prospal

    Yup, this is Potica, not Kolache, though kolache is a very generic term it usually is a pastry with fruit in the center, filled (like a doughnut) or folded (like kiffle) but not rolled.

    December 17, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Fenris

      Agree: picture shows nut roll, not kolatchki.

      December 24, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • mjbrin

      i agree. we have potica every holiday especially Christmas!

      December 29, 2013 at 12:42 am |
    • Jozef

      actually in Slovakia everything sweet is called KOLACE or KALACKY :) it is the top level general word for all sweet or salty cookies :) but this roll is called BUCHTA or ZAVIN ;) there are many types of it: chocolate/kakao, poppy, nuts etc ..

      October 9, 2014 at 2:34 am |
  15. Lillian

    Many years ago I married into a family with Yugoslavian roots. My father-in-law was first generation American from Ely, Minnesota. When I showed interest in making Potica, my mother-in-law was glad to transfer the recipe and the task to me. I use the same amount of dough pictured above but was taught to stretch it so thin you could read a newspaper through it, which ends up being an oval about 6 foot by 10 foot . A very warm kitchen is needed for the stretching so the dough doesn't tear. I use less sugar also. I have only missed one year that I didn't make it in the last 40 years. It was traditionally eaten with a slice of ham, though I prefer it as a sweet. I still make it for my children and grandchildren to keep their ancestry alive. I still have hopes that one of them will take over the recipe and task some day and not let if fade away. I have also made chive potica, which was also a family recipe. I made apple potica without a recipe and it was very good. Have not tried making the custard potica the family spoke of.

    December 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Elisabeth Mikelich

      When we made it, we put all the leaves in the dining room table, cleaned it well, floured it and stretched the dough so it covered the table entirely. Took three of us. We three also got the first taste of the finished product!

      December 26, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Barbara Lovelace

      I have visited ely for the last 40 years and remember a bakery called Barbara Ann, do you by chance has a recipe for their kolachy cookies that they used to make or the toffee cookies? I have searched everywhere including many old ely cookbooks from churches etc.
      We also make potica and it is an anual event with my great aunt who somehow seems to change a bit of something each year! I would love to show you our recipe if you would like. Thanks for reading!!! Barb in Illinois

      December 29, 2013 at 2:34 am |
  16. Sharon H

    I remember as a kid eating this at weddings in the Iron Range in Northern MN where my mom grew up. It is called Potica and have had with the walnut blend and with an apple filling. (The apple maybe from the strong German influence up there.) Made it once, it is a lot of work but, oh to good. Eat it whenever I can find it.

    December 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Jozef

      actually when you do it with apple or any other fruit it is Strudla or Strudel .. the sweet version with poppy, kakao/chocolate, nuts .. are called zavin, buchta, etc but there are more names of it also depending slang and region ;)

      October 9, 2014 at 2:36 am |
  17. Mark

    My father was of Slavic decent and my mother of German decent. My mother made Kolachi's every year during Christmas. She passed the recipe to me and I continue to make them with different fillings besides nuts. I prefer Pecans to walnuts. Also for those of you with a large sweet tooth, roll the dough in sugar.

    December 16, 2013 at 11:37 am |
  18. Joan Nicosia

    Oh my...Your recipe is very similar to the kolachi I make. I don't use as much sugar in the walnuts. Walnut filled is my favorite, but poppy seed is delicious, too.I make these each Christmas and Easter. Someone mentioned pagach. Cabbage filled, oh my. Can't find the recipe my grandma used. (Probably no recipe) My mom came from eastern Slovakia. Just makes me smile to know others enjoy as much as I do. the way, does anyone make a sauerkraut-mushroom soup for Christmas?

    December 15, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • Elisabeth

      Okay, another ethnic food question. My Croatian family has a tradition of eating baccalai (spelling?) and polenta on Christmas Eve, a fast day. Baccalai is salted cod fish, soaked in water then cooked in olive oil and garlic, served over polenta. Anybody else have this tradition?

      December 15, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
      • Mary J

        All of my Italian friends have polenta and the cod...have never heard those associated with Croation traditions!

        December 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
      • Doris

        Oh Elisabeth, I'm Croatian and we had bacala (sp?) as a 'special treat'. I'm so glad it was one tradition that didn't survive. My Mom makes the above recipe as well. We call it Povitica. Thanks for the recipe. Wonderful article.

        December 28, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • TJCM

      yes we still have mushroom/sauerkraut soup for Vigilia!

      December 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Jozef

      the recipes are but they would probably need trnslation :)
      traditional Slovak Christmass soup:
      saurkraut-mushroom soup – "kapustnica"
      and your cabbage "brindza" pagace –

      the sice contains more than 24000 Slovak recipes .. so you can get lots of inspiration there :))

      October 9, 2014 at 2:42 am |
  19. Jackie

    John – My mom is 91 and is a first generation American of slovakian descent.. recently my sister compiled a recipe book of family recipes – and indeed we have the favorites that you have mentioned!! I will make sure to keep your recipes too!

    Here is another version of Haluski – my mom's

    1 large head of cabbage, cut in ½ inch wide strips
    1 pound thick sliced bacon, cut ½ inch wide and cooked till crispy (cook an extra pound of bacon since
    the family will steal half the crispy bacon before the potatoes are ready)
    1 stick butter
    2 potatoes, cubed
    3 potatoes, grated fine (grate in food processor to save the knuckles)
    2 cups flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    Cottage cheese (optional)
    In a large pot cook bacon over medium low heat until crispy. While bacon is cooking, cut up the
    cabbage. Set aside bacon in a bowl. Pour all but 4 tablespoons of grease from the pan and add
    butter. Add the cabbage and cook until lightly browned. While the cabbage is cooking peel and prep
    the potatoes. Boil the cubed potatoes in boiling salted water until fork tender and drain.
    To make the Haluski, mix the grated potatoes with flour and 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon
    pepper. Mix in a bowl until the consistency when done is not sticky. You may have to add more
    flour. Put potato mixture on a plate. Use a tablespoon to drop teaspoon size Haluski in boiling
    water. The Haluski will be about 1 inch long and about ½ inch wide. After all Haluski are in the pot,
    boil approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Haluski will float to the top when done. Drain. Combine cabbage,
    Haluski, boiled potatoes and bacon. Serve with cottage cheese.

    December 15, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
  20. JFritz

    My Hungarian grandmother brought a very similar recipe from the old country about 100 years ago, and my mother, her Syrian daughter-in-law, altered it slightly by adding coconut and lemon zest. She (my mom) then made a matching poppyseed roll and braided the two. I am the last of the family to bake this holiday treat, which I send to my aging relatives every year. It's sad that no one is left who wants to bake these anymore, but I've created a handwritten cookbook for future generations. Maybe one day someone will pick it up and bake this wonderful pastry.

    December 15, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  21. ann

    I just saw lekvar in the store the other day and it made me think of these ... my family is Swabish. They used to make the nut and poppy versions, too. This is one recipe that was never passed down to me, so I think I'll try this version! I think my family called it "kipfel," though. Hard to guess how to spell those words!

    Chicken paprikash is also my favorite dish to share with "outsiders" as someone else mentioned. Somehow, they never seem interested in the pork & sauerkraut! They don't know what they're missing.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Jozef

      I love paprikas :))) got it last week ;) btw that lekvar version needs a little bit different dought but its even bettter :) personally my most favorite is the one with walnut cream ;)

      October 9, 2014 at 2:46 am |
  22. Mike Klaene

    Most ethnic groups have their recipes. My family is decended from German Catholics from the Oldenburg area. We had St Nick's day on Dec 6th. My mom always made various cookies, like Pfeffernüsse and Springerle. It just is not Christmas without them. I grew up in the Covington, KY area which had a large German Catholic population – in fact, one of the churchs in town is named "Mutter Gottes Kirche".

    December 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  23. Galaxy Prime

    What is it about recipes that people feel the need to keep them a closely guarded secret? I have co-workers who bring in baked goods and dishes, when we have a pot luck lunches, and these people are as tight-lipped about their recipes as the nuclear scientists were on the Manhattan Project! Trust me everybody, your Grandma is not going to mind that you gave someone outside the family her recipe for beef stew. Good grief!

    December 15, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Mike Klaene

      If it is a good family recipe, why not share it?

      Also no one ethnic group can claim to be the best or call another the worst. Peace and understanding is the key message of Christmas.

      December 15, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Jozef

      24000 Slovak recipes on this page so I guess non of them are still secret maybe just some modification on which the creator is very proud and wants to be the only one who can do it :)))

      October 9, 2014 at 2:48 am |
  24. Pearl

    Thank you for this; I've been using the green cookbook (if you are Slovak, you know which one I mean!) but haven't made
    kolachky (which is how we kids pronounced it) for a few years. Gonna start the dough right NOW using Aunt Eleanor's recipe. 2nd Gen, but getting up there. I wish my kids would get the Slovak bug and start baking for me. I am so proud of my heritage.

    December 15, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • Renee DeMIchiei Farrow

      Pearl, My mom would be proud and I sure am. Let me know how they turn out.

      December 18, 2013 at 9:53 am |
  25. Linda Ocepek Oldani

    Oh, yes! Glad to know others still love these traditions. My mother's side as all Slovak and kolach has been around forever. We have a picture of my grandmother's parents' 50th wedding anniversary party and there is nut and poppyseed kolach on the table behind them! ! My mother made it for many years and at 83 still does for special occasions but I seem to be the one happily carrying this torch. After reading this article, I am determined to get my younger sister, 42, on board. We can't lose this one, although pagach made with cabbage and raisins can kids always held our noses when the container was opened! Anyone remember stoods-a-nina? No idea how its spelled. Kids took off when bowls of that came out – pickled pigs' feet.

    December 15, 2013 at 7:35 am |
    • Lisa

      Oh, how I remember pickled pigs feet. My father used to love them. My family also ate jaternice sausage at breakfast, anyone else get to grow up with that smell? I never liked the taste of it, but that smell does make me think of the holidays.

      December 16, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  26. Fifi

    While you all sit here and kibbitz over what country and the name of this sweet treat could somebody figure a way to send me a plate with a coffee. Lol. And Patty take your nasty old self back to whatever hole you crawled out of. We all don't care to here your nastyness. I'm french Canadian and at this time of the year we have Pork Pies with Chili Sauce. I'de give anything to be in the kitchen with my Mimi and watch her making pies again. Thats family food and traditions and I really feel sorry for the people that havent had that or just dont get it. HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYBODY !!!!!!

    December 15, 2013 at 6:51 am |
  27. rhansme


    December 14, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
  28. Lyon

    Shouldn't it be Slovak-American instead of Slavic-American? Or does he mean Slavic-American in that his mother's Carpatho-Rusyn ethnicity is part of the general Slavic ethnicity/language group?

    December 14, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • Vasil

      There are many cultural identities among the Slavic people. Though there are differences, there are many more similarities.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
  29. Sandra

    My grandmother and mother made this and it was a staple of their Slovak heritage. The Croatian/Slovenian version of this is Povitca, and it is a little different as it is several of these together in one pan sort of twisted. Since Slovakia was occupied by the Hungarians during the Austrian-Hungarian empire, they may have learned it from the Slovaks. It is probably a Eastern European dish, but nobody does it better than the Slovaks. Just saying........

    December 14, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  30. Polish Pete

    My Polish grandmother made these, hers looked better.

    December 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Renee DeMIchiei Farrow

      Polish Pete, they were cut right out of the oven. I usually have them sit overnight and then cut them. Because of the time element for the camera shot, they needed to be cut. I was not happy myself with their look, but their taste is amazing. Happy Holidays.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:01 am |
  31. Rob Moore

    I am not comfortable eating margarine and saw that the recipe stated not to substitute. Although high in saturated fat, I would rather use butter than margarine. Can butter not be used?

    December 14, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • annica

      Yes butter works better in every way, unsalted is how I bake all my goods. If margarine is used in baking the products its softer after it is baked. You want to have a firm hold on everything, The price to make it is not cheap, so use the best..

      December 15, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • Jozef

      butter is preferred . ;)

      October 9, 2014 at 2:50 am |
  32. MEII

    @PATTYD. Hate has no place here. Take ur ignorance elsewhere.

    December 14, 2013 at 2:28 am |
  33. Honja Gobonja

    Yes! Baba made these, and the wax paper went on first, then the foil, when you took your roll home with you. We also made Poppeyseed kolach and the kolacky with lekva, prune usually. Bobalki on Christmas Eve with Sour Soup too, and Hrin....

    December 13, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
  34. T Voitek

    This is also a favorite family recipe of ours as well! Especially during the holidays. My family is also Slovak. Surprised to see Haluski on here as well!

    December 13, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
  35. Staci Hunyady

    This is also a Hungarian family recipe along with Chicken Paprikash. We have been making both of these fine dishes for over 93 years. My grandmother and grandfather came to america in 1914 and brought both of these recipes along with a few others. Also Hungarian Kifli's are another of my favorites. Try them all and fall in love. Good for the soul on those cold winter days. I think these have many origins so I guess you really can't say it's just a slovak recipe. Research says other wise. Just saying. I am very proud of all these recipes. We keep them alive also.

    December 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  36. Hungarian-Slovak

    Wow, this is almost exactly how my 88-yr. old mom makes it! Of course, you cannot brush on the melted butter too many times while it is baking :-)

    How about some Chicken Paprikash? That's another family favorite that we like to share with 'outsiders.' Everyone loves it!

    December 13, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
  37. Mark L

    While I am Italian and not Croatian, we have a holiday tradition as well. My family makes stuffed olives. Basically they are giant green olives that we take the pimento out (its easier than trying to get out the pits) then they are stuffed with a beef/turkey puree (with some other ingredients). That is then breaded and fried in a pan. They are amazing.

    My grandmother learned from her mother who learned from her mother who immigrated from Italy. When my grandmother died she had not taught anyone the recipe. In a masterstroke of luck, my mother came upon the recipe in an Italian cookbook about the area of Italy my family is from. It took my father (he makes them, it was his mother after all) another 3 or so years of tweaking the recipe to get it to our families standards. Now we make them once a year a Xmas time and give out packages to family and share with friends. We even ship a batch out to Arizona for our family there.

    Its good to have a family tradition based on treasured recipes. It brings them closer and keeps them that way

    December 13, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • k

      I had those olives all over Rome and LOVED THEM!

      December 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Nancy B

      Sounds wonderful! Could you please post your olive recipe? Thanks everybody for the positive comments. Happy New Year!

      January 4, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
  38. cali girl

    I continued the Swedish tradition of our family with Spritz cookies. They are my most gift giving item, make them and put them in the freezer and pull out what I need when a gift is necessary.

    December 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
  39. PattyD

    I hate Slovaks! Not much better than Croatians!

    December 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Jerv's Electronic Cousin

      Troll B Gone!

      December 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • sleazyhunky

      shov a pa-tee-se up yours PatyD!

      December 13, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • nancy

      Wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year . Looks like you are in need of attention. Bless you!

      December 16, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Carol Paddor

      PattyD lolololol you are a real nut roll!!

      December 16, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
  40. mlv

    My grandmother made this with walnuts only it is called Potica (prone. Po-tee-za) She was Slovenian.

    December 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • annica

      From the picture in this article , this is Potica, A Slovenian and or Croation specialty . I am first generation Slovenian,It took me 30 yrs to perfect my mothers reciepy . It is served at holidays, Babtisims, and weddings. What a delight to be one of the gals that can actually make it. I have been offered money to bake this potica for people that unfortunately can t . Happy Holidays to all.

      December 13, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
      • John

        This is what my wife makes for Christmas and Easter too and calls it Potica. She's Slovenian. It's a treat. Interesting to see it's made across many Slavic countries.

        December 15, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
  41. susan

    wow! memories came flooding back. I am a third (or is it 4th??) generation slovak and my family members still make kolachi every christmas season. this receipe is alomost identical to our reciepe, except we allow the dough to rise overnight (in the fridge) and that sort of makes for a more breakfast-break-like kolachi. I hope this family tradition never dies.

    December 13, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  42. Diann

    I remember my mom making these and poppy seed rolls every holiday season. My family is polish/russian. Thank you for posting this recipe! I will make these soon!

    December 13, 2013 at 8:53 am |
  43. Mary Ann

    I am second generation Slovak, too. Must learn to make these as we had kolachi every Christmas. Pagachi is also another favorite (potato and cheese, not cabbage) that I have made in the past. Also kiffles, halupky, yum.

    December 13, 2013 at 5:48 am |
  44. Mariann Pastor

    Thank you Mr. Bodnar. I am second generation Slovak also. Where is Slovakia were your people from? A lot of my family is gone and I miss them all the more at XMas and Easter.

    December 12, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
  45. Elisabeth Mikelich

    That's our old family recipe, too! We call it povetica (pron. po-vay-teet-sa). We made it at Christmas time. We put honey and egg whites in our filling. Got the recipe from my Croatian grandmother :) Now I buy it when I get a craving.

    December 12, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Dani

      That's what our family called it, too! We're Irish, though.

      December 13, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
      • Uncle J-Z

        Dani – Sounds like we have the same're not in North Dakota, are you?

        December 16, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  46. Tania @ Run To Radiance

    What a wonderful family tradition. Thank you for sharing!

    December 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  47. Anna

    My grandmother used to make these..she was of Croation descent

    December 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
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