Cottage Cheese Cookies (Ukrainian: Syrne Pechyvo)

One of my favourite cookies of all time: cheesy, semi-sweet, flacky, crumbly and crunchy! They also can be savory if salt and spices are added instead of sugar (this variation likes even Nil, the cat!:))).

As a part of the experiment, I didn’t add baking powder to these cookies, so they didn’t rise much. Usually the combination of cheese curds, butter and flour makes the butter melt into the flour so they get anyway flacky and slightly puffed. These are less puffed than with the added leavening agent, in a very natural way though! Some people also moisten the tops of the cookies with water or egg and dip into sugar too. Then the outer side gets caramelized and crunchier! But I prefer sprinkling them with powdered sugar after cooling. You can always play with flavours combining for example cinnamon with the coating sugar or the dough ingredients.
The original Ukrainian recipe is pretty old and not popular nowdays. And if to dig deep, in different places on earth exists this tradition of mixing a curdy white cheese, butter and flour to making the dough and a variety of baking goods out of it. The basic baking ratios are listed below, so that they can be used for a larger batch and as the key ingredients for experimenting:
1 cup butter
1 cup cottage cheese
3 cups flour 
a pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar (for a sweet dough)
Having a great pleasure to share this Ukrainian cookie recipe as I was going to do it for ages:))) Happy baking!:)
Takes 65 mins (prep – 15 mins, cooling the dough – 30 mins, baking – 20 mins) + cooling

Makes 18 cookies

Ingredients

110 g cold butter
110 small-curd cottage cheese 
2 tbsp sugar + 2 tbsp extra for coating
zest of 1 small lemon
pinch of salt
1 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder

Method

Scrape zest off the lemon. Combine the cubed butter, cottage cheese, 2 tbsp of sugar, lemon zest and salt. Add the sifted flour, baking powder and work with a fork until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Gently knead the dough with your hands until soft and it doesn’t stick to your hands. Add more flour, 1 tbsp at a time if the dough is sticky. Pat it into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or longer (overnight).

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line the cookie sheet with parchment.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/4 in/0.6 cm thick. Cut out the cookies using a 9 cm/3,5 in round cutter. Spread 2 tbsp of sugar onto a plate. Prepare a small cup/bowl of water. Moisten one side of the round cookie with water (you can do it with a brush, teaspoon or fingers). Dip this side into the sugar. Fold it in half with the sugar on the inside. Moisten and dip one of the sides in the sugar again and fold it in another half. Whilst folding, the sugar should always be on the inside. You can try sugar-coating without moistening the cookies, but the sugar won’t stick to the dough so well. 
Reroll the scraps and cut out the cookies until all the dough has been used. 

Place on the prepared cookie sheet leaving some space for spreading. Bake for about 15 minutes until fragrant and golden on tops and nicely brown around the edges. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!:)

 Bon Appétit!

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