It’s installment #2 in my Slovak Sunday Bake series! I decided to tackle another recipe that had many entries in the Anniversary Slovak American Cookbook (if you want to hear the story of this series of posts, you can find it here): rozky. In the book, it has it’s own subsection. All of the fourteen recipes have a refrigerated dough, no yeast, and lots of butter. Many of them also use cream cheese, and most direct you to make rolls with the finished dough. All of them sounded rich and creamy, simple yet decadent. I went with a straightforward recipe that called for plenty of cream cheese and butter, along with hints of sugar and vanilla. Rolled around an apricot filling, the results were delicious.
My grandmother loved to court our affection with food. Not that she needed to; she was warm and loving and spent hours letting me methodically unpack her suitcases (classic midcentury white hardshell, naturally). She always brought a perfume bottle, jewelry, and an elaborate makeup case, and I couldn’t wait to run upstairs and take everything out, piece by piece. She had the patience of a saint. I’ll try to remember this as I’m cringing while my kids go through my own jewelry, creating a hopelessly tangled mess.
But back to the food. When we visited, she’d put M&M’s in a fancy candy dish for us, and she’d always make my favorite buttery mashed potatoes. I can’t go back in time and ask, but I have a feeling she cooked what she thought my brother and I would like, rather than what she and my grandfather might have liked best. I don’t remember ever having rozky, but having a sweet cookie on the kitchen counter for little hands to reach seems like something she would have done.
Let me be clear that I realize that my version of rozky do not look like the traditional Slovak bread roll that I found while googling. Those looked like longer versions of a crescent roll, completely closed around the filling. This dough, while chilled overnight, became warm quickly as I rolled it, and I couldn’t get it thin enough to make proper crescent-roll shapes. I decided to go with more of an open eggroll shape, with specks of apricot jam peeking out from the pastry dough. I think they look quite nice, but they probably aren’t the shape that the women who contributed to this book were describing. No matter the final shape, the dough is crispy and sweet, with a rich buttery taste that is cut nicely by the tartness of the apricot jam. They make a lovely afternoon cookie or dessert, and I plan on making them again soon. Maybe (probably not) I’ll even get a cookie jar to put on the counter for when I do.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ pound butter (2 sticks)
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg for egg wash (optional)
- 1 ½ cups dried apricots
- ½ cup water
- ¾ cup sugar
- The night before you want to cook the rozky: In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. If you have a large food processor, you can combine them in there instead.
- Cut the cream cheese and butter into small pieces and sprinkle them on top of the dough. Either with a pastry cutter, your hands, or with the food processor, combine the ingredients until the largest butter pieces are the size of small peas.
- If using the food processor, move the dough over to a large bowl. Add the vanilla and egg yolk and combine with your hands. If the dough is still fairly crumbly, add a tablespoon of half and half or cream. Knead lightly until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide it into two equal pieces. Wrap each in plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.
- When ready to bake the next day, preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease two cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.
- Remove half the dough from the refrigerator (or all of it if making a double batch). Let it stand at room temperature for a few minutes. If making the apricot jam yourself, now would be a great time.
- Roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about a quarter of an inch thick.
- Cut the dough into squares (or as close to squares as you can get). Fill the center of each square with a teaspoon of apricot jam. Starting with one corner of the square, roll tightly into an open egg roll shape. If using the egg wash, beat the egg lightly with a fork, then brush onto the rolls. Place the rolls on the baking sheets.
- Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired, and serve.
- Stir together the apricots, water, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the fruit is soft and the liquid has been absorbed, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree to your desired consistency.