Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Crescent Cheese Cookies

Although I bought The Gourmet Cookie Book exclusively for the bourbon balls, I ended up bookmarking pretty much the whole book. It looked a little silly bristling with a million little post-its, not to mention the fact that it's not very helpful to bookmark every page. So I separated the bookmarks into vertically-facing ones that signified 'must make,' and horizontally-facing ones that meant, 'must make really soon.'

These little beauties were on a 'must make really soon' page, and I suggest that you make them really soon as well. They're really more like little tiny pastries because of their flaky, flaky dough, but that's not in any way a bad thing. In fact, it's pretty amazing that a dough that literally comes together in about 2 minutes can be so flaky and light--it's the kind of thing one would think must be labored over for hours.

The dough contains no sugar, but the jam and powdered sugar make the cookie sweet enough. In fact, it becomes a perfectly balanced kind of sweetness that would appeal to adults and children alike. They actually kind of remind me of some of the cookies my Italian grandmother used to make.

I used black cherry jam, which I thought worked perfectly. And don't be scared off by the mention of farmer's cheese--it's a cheese that is similar to cottage cheese, and because I didn't feel like going to the store, I used plain old cottage cheese and thought that it worked perfectly well.

My best piece of advice, though, is to carefully check for doneness before pulling these little guys out of the oven. My oven temperature might have been a bit too high, or the suggested temperature might be too hot, or maybe I was just deceived by the effect the milk has on the browning of the cookies, because the outsides were beautifully golden while the insides were still half raw. Even undercooked, these cookies were amazingly flaky, so properly cooked, they must be simply dreamy.

I apologize for just showing you pictures of the cookies broken in half, rather than the whole cookie. I didn't like the way I styled the shoot when I photographed the whole cookies, and they didn't look all that awesome, anyway. My crescent-rolling skills aren't quite up to par, and a lot of my cookies looked like something the cookie fairy would have pooped out.

Crescent Cheese Cookies
From The Gourmet Cookie Book

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

  • About 6 ounces farmer cheese, or low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • About 10 ounces of your favorite jam or jelly
  • Milk for brushing the cookies
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (About 1/4 cup)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Force enough cheese through a sieve into a dish to measure 1 cup. In a bowl, cream the butter until it's smooth. Stir in the cheese, the sour cream, and the vanilla, and mix until well combined.

In another bowl, sift together the flour and the salt. Gradually blend the flour mixture into the cheese mixture. Wrap the dough in parchment paper and chill for at least 3 hours.

Roll one fourth of the dough out very thinly (about 1/8 inch) on a lightly floured surface and chill the remaining dough until it is to be used. Cut the dough into 3-inch squares and put about 1/2 teaspoon jam or preserves in the center of each. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Fold the squares tightly into triangles and roll them into crescents, starting at the wide end. Arrange the crescents on a baking sheet, brushing them lightly with milk, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are golden. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and dust them with sifted confectioners' sugar. (I actually just dumped some sugar into a sifter and used the sifter to dust the cookies.)

These cookies don't keep very well, and are best on the day they're made.


Garrett said...

I always claim to not have much of a sweet tooth, but when you mentioned blackberry jam and cheese, that did it for me. They look awesome. I wonder if they keep in the mail?

I laughed at the image of you being flustered with a big book with a thousand little postits sticking out of every page. Something I would do. Just before I rip them all out and then curse my temper and the loss of all that great "research".

Keep the good stuff coming. Some of these pics are worthy of saving in a "private" folder, they look so appealing.

Leah said...

Thank you!
Unfortunately, these cookies are best the day they're made--they don't keep at all. However, I've been meaning to make a batch of cookies that actually get better with age. Maybe I'll send you some of those.