To prepare the dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the warm milk and 2 teaspoons of sugar.
- Evenly sprinkle the yeast over top of the milk and allow the yeast to activate, about 5 minutes. The mixture should froth and foam slightly.
- You can stir it gently to make sure all the yeast has been moistened, but if the yeast does not foam, dump it out and start over.
- Once yeast has been activated, beat 1/2 cup of the flour in to the milk mixture using the paddle attachment.
- Once combined, add the remaining sugar, eggs, egg yolk, vanilla, and salt, and beat the mixture on medium speed until combined.
- On low speed, add the remainder of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Once evenly combined, increase the speed to medium (I use speed number 4 on my Kitchen Aid stand mixer) and add the softened butter 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and then continue to beat on medium speed for an additional 4 minutes.
- The dough will be quite moist and sticky, and will hold together in long strands when you attempt to scoop it from the bowl.
- Lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough inside, covering it tightly with a piece of plastic wrap.
- Allow the dough to rest until it has approximately doubled in size, about 1-1/2-2 hours. In the meantime, prepare the fillings.
To prepare the cranberry filling:
- All of the ingredients in a small saucepan and place over medium low heat.
- Cook, stirring and squishing the cranberries regularly, until the mixture is thickened and bubbling, about 8-10 minutes.
- Set aside to cool completely.
To prepare the cream cheese filling:
- Use an electric mixer to combine all of the ingredients.
- Set aside until ready to use.
To prepare the streusel:
- Combine the sugar, flour, and salt.
- Stir in the melted Kerrygold unsalted butter until combined and sandy in texture.
- Set aside until ready to use.
To prepare the kolaches:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the risen dough to 1/2 “ thick.
- Use a 2” cutter to trim out rounds of dough.
- Lay them out on parchment-lined baking sheets and cover with a piece of plastic wrap or a tea towel.
- Set aside to allow the dough rounds to rise for approximately 60 minutes or until fluffy.
- When risen, use your thumb or a floured bottom of a tablespoon-sized measuring spoon to lightly until rounds into the center of the dough.
- You should leave about ¼-1/2” border around the edge of each round. Whisk the remaining half of the beaten egg with 1 teaspoon of water and use a pastry brush to lightly brush a thin layer of the mixture on top of each pastry.
- Fill the hole of each kolache with your filling of choice. Approximately half of them will be cream cheese and half will be cranberry.
- Sprinkle the undented edges of the pastries with the streusel generously.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes or until the pastries are golden and puffed.
- Remove from oven to cool slightly prior to consuming.
Notes: The cranberry filling is rather tart. You can add 1-2 tablespoons of extra sugar to sweeten it after cooking, if desired.