When I'm stressed, I bake. Sasha has been not sleeping well again recently, he's very unsettled in the night, and my nights are trips from one bedroom to another and back again. I feel like a shuttle with a half-broken engine. Baking could be as good as therapy, if not better. Yesterday I went for the old-fashioned cookies called in Russian "goosinye lapki" (lit. feet of geese).
There are different versions of these cookies. Some swear that the butter should be very cold, just out of the fridge, so you can grate it. Some say, no-no, butter has to be left at the room temperature to soften, then you mix it with curd or cottage cheese. You can dip them in sugar half-way before folding, or skip that stage and sprinkle with the icing sugar later. Egg yolks added, or no eggs at all.
I am doing a recipe the way I know from my youth, though this is not my family recipe. I don't think my Mum has ever baked them.
Curd cheese cookies
250g curd cheese
200g cold butter, grated
300g+ self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g caster sugar (or less)
1 egg yolk
Grate the very cold butter straight from the fridge and mix with curd cheese. Add the flour, baking powder, caster sugar and egg yolk. Mix well with hands. Go on, dig in and knead.
Roll it into one big piece of dough, and place the bowl with the dough covered with the towel in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Take the dough out, and divide it into halves, as it would be easier to roll flat with a rolling pin to about 5mm thickness. Dust the surface with more flour when you roll the dough. Cut out circles with a cookie or scone cutter, or even a glass. Roll all the leftovers together, and cut out as many circles as you can.
Fold each circle in half, then fold in half again.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Don't put the cookies too close to each other on the trays, as they do tend to expand.
Use either foil or parchment paper on the trays. Bake until cookies are golden for about 15-20 minutes.
|Curd cheese cookies uncooked & cooked|
You can use the cottage cheese rather than curd cheese in this recipe, but you might want to drain it from the surplus of liquid by leaving in a sieve over a bowl. I buy the curd cheese in the deli department of Waitrose by weight. It has the right soft consistency and not too lumpy texture in comparison to the cottage cheese.
These cookies will keep well for several days in the closed container, but they are the best eaten on the same day or the next day, when they are truly fresh. Warm soon after the oven is the best option.
And they look pretty too.