Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cottage cheese and apricot cookie rolls

Did I say already that in Russia we do not celebrate anything on December 25-26th and all the important things happen on December 31st? The thing is that we actually keep baking Christmas cookies even longer - till January 10th or so because that's our favorite home activity on New Year's eve vacation. From all the cookies we bake these are the oldest. While some other cookies come and go these stay with us since (hard to believe...) 1991.

Just to make it clear - in 1991 I was six years old, so I could probably still walk under the table, but did already "help" my mom with these cookies. Since then not much has changed. I'm still helping her and I didn't grow much taller either.

Leaving jokes aside, there is something very special about cookie dough based on cottage cheese. It is very easy to work with and it tastes great, especially flavored with lemon. Besides these rolls we also bake other cheese cookies, e.g. with cinnamon rolls and home made marmalade rolls. The recipes for them are so old that I'm not sure whether they are coming from Germany, Eastern Europe, Soviet Union or some combination of these.

These rolls do require good apricot jam or varenie. I didn't yet find any good substitute for apricot for this recipe, only peach also does OK. There is nothing too complicated about the recipe. If you decide to follow the instructions about refrigerating the dough and the roll before cutting the cookies will come out pretty. If not - it will save you time and the cookies will still be very tasty, so it is up to you.

Cottage cheese and apricot cookie rolls

makes around 40 cookies

For the dough:
150 g soft cottage cheese (see the picture below)
zest of one lemon
70 g vegetable oil
100 ml milk
130 g sugar
300 g all purpose flour
1 tea spoon baking powder

For the filling:

100 g apricot jam or varenie (if it has pieces of fruit, smoothen it in a blender)
50 g walnuts (chopped into around 5 mm pieces)

icing sugar for dusting (optional)

Mix together cottage cheese, lemon zest, oil, milk and sugar. In a separate bowl combine the flour and baking powder, mix well.

Mix the flour into the liquid ingredients (add it in 2-3 batches). The dough should become even and should not stick to your fingers. If it is too soft, add 1-2 table spoons of flour. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper 5 mm thick into a square with around 40 cm side. Take upper sheet of baking paper off. Spread the jam evenly, leaving a 3 cm strip clean at one of the sides. Sprinkle the nuts over the jam.

Helping yourself with the lower sheet of baking paper roll the dough (the clean strip should come at the end). Leave the roll covered by the baking paper and place it in the freezer for 2 hours (this will help a lot to cut it into beautiful cookies later easily).

Take the roll out of the freezer, take the baking paper off and cut into cookies 1 cm thick. Plate the cookies on the baking sheet covered with baking paper. You might need two baking sheets. It is better not to keep some 5 cm distance between the cookies as they rise while baking.

Bake at 175C for around 15 minutes. The cookies are ready when they start to turn golden on top. Take out of the oven and transfer to the cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar (if using) and let cool completely start eating right away.

The cookies keep at room temperature for 2-3 days. To store them longer - freeze airtight.


Home made apricot jam (varenie)
Quince marmalade

Cinnamon roll cookies
Russian syrniki (cottage cheese pancakes)
Lemon and caraway biscuits

Kiev food: a personal guide


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