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In a large bowl, stir together 2 cups flour, yeast and mace (or nutmeg); set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat and stir 1 cup milk, butter, granulated sugar and salt just until warm (120-130°F) and the butter is almost melted. Add the milk mixture to the dry mixture along with 2 eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping the side of the bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the lemon zest, if using, and as much of the remaining flour as you can.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn once. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size (1 hour).
Punch the dough down. Turn onto lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half of the dough into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Cut each rectangle into six 4-inch squares. Place a rounded teaspoon of filling onto the center of each square. Brush the 4 corners of each square with water. Draw the corners up and gently press together. Place on well-greased baking sheets 2 inches apart.
Cover; let rise again until double (30 to 45 minutes). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F. Beat together the remaining 1 egg and 1 tablespoon milk. Brush this mixture on the tops of the kolaches. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.