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Sugar Cheese Cookies

Sunday, October 10, 2010

As the cool fall weather is setting in, I'm beginning to feel like baking. In need of some "warming up" before heavy baking in winter,  I decided to make some improvisational cakes. One, the fruit and nut cake, was not so good though men of the household said it was. OK, that's their opinion, so not satisfied with the first attempt, I made one more today. The simple truth is, I was going to make once favourite cheese cookies, but the recipe was too tricky to find in a mess of my recipes. That's how I produced yet another improvisation. Quite good this time.:)

What you need:
3 cups flour + more flour for working with dough
1 stick of unsalted butter
200g (about 7 ounces) farmers cheese
2 eggs
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
Brown sugar for sprinkling

Whisk eggs with white sugar, set aside. Work over butter and flour with pastry blender until they make a fine crumble. Work in farmers cheese, then combine egg mixture with the rest, sprinkle with baking soda and knead with your hands quickly into a rather sticky dough.
Set the oven at 365F, it should be preheated. 
Generously sprinkle working surface with flour, and roll out the dough constantly turning it around to avoid sticking to the surface. Make it approximately 1/3" thick.
Sprinkle with brown sugar, cut cookies with your favourite cookie cutters, place on cold and thinly oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle with more sugar if desired (I did!), and pierce with fork. Bake for about 25 minutes depending on your oven or just until cookies become golden.
Serve warm with milk or a nice cup of tea.

You probably would ask what to do with left over dough after all cookies are cut, just throw them away? No way, folks. We cannot allow waste in our kitchen. Make a ball of the remnants of your dough, roll it out  rather thinly (about 1/4" maybe), cut into 8 wedges, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, and roll each wedge moving from the edge to the middle of dough. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon on top. Bake your rolls at the same temperature about 20 minutes or so. Again, it depends on your oven.

I  used dry, very well strained and pressed  farmers cheese from a Russian market. If you will use farmers cheese from chain stores, you will need probably  1/2 cup more flour.

What can I tell you? I tried one cookie, just to see how it turned out. Then I poured myself a cup of milk and effortlessly swallowed three cookies. My hand was stretching for another one, but I had to stop the evening sinful outbreak. The cookies turned out really good: not overly sweet, with  nice cheesy sourness inside and crunchiness of sugar outside. Just perfect. Really.

One warning: cheese cookies are the best when warm, they get stale very fast. Let's see how they will perform at breakfast tomorrow. :)  

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