I made these two weekend ago for a friend, gave her most of whatever comes out from it, and keep a small jar for us. My hope was to redo the 'photo session' - I have this pretty image in my head of how it should look like, see? But who am I kidding?!! It's all gone by the third day.
I don't make these sort of cookies much. See that little suckers?!! Take forever! Besides, I had enough share of making/helping to make these growing up. Aunt and mom owned a bakery many years ago. Talking about illegal child labor! In busy seasons, Christmas, Chinese New Year, Idul Fitri/Eid - they were always short of help. And I swear, every person (neighbor included) coming through the kitchen, would be handed a brush for egg wash or metal spatula to transfer cookies to cool.
Batches and batches of these. Most dreadful one was helping to shape pineapple filling for pineapple tarts. It was a complete torture. Sticky and so not rewarding, since it'd be INSIDE the tarts anyway. Still dislike the task, and will only make a batch after serious bribing. Though I secretly enjoyed the end part of it when all tins, boxes being tied up with pretty ribbons. Labeling them (I am a queen of labels - I label every single thing!) and crossing down a list of customers.
Anyhow, the most two common shape of this cookie (at least, that's what we made in those days) is somewhat resembling pinky finger. Cylinder with slightly flat top, topped with finely shredded cheese. Or, rolled dough cut with spikey edges rectangular cookie cutter. But I have seen petal shaped ones, round with criss cross hatch ones. Anything goes. Of course, if there is any cookie press around, it'll be much easier. Used to have one, that is until we moved up here and somehow I packed all the small disks, except the press tube. Won't do me no good, will it?
Commonly used cheese for this recipe is a Kraft 'Cheddar' block wrapped in tin foil, in a blue box. Have not seen it around here - both US and Canada. Not that I have tried extra hard in finding it - I tend to be very lenient when it comes to certain recipes that I feel its ingredient is versatile and can be substitute, if it comes to it. The closest match so far is Edam cheese. Second is old cheddar. Use either just one type, or mix of both.
- 600 gr butter (I like to use at least 300 gr of it as unsalted butter.)
- 250 gr old cheddar/ edam, finely grated (reserve few tablespoon for sprinkle, which I forgot to do)
- 750 gr flour
- 3 egg yolk (2 for dough and 1 for egg wash)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Beat butter until pale in color. Add in flour. Mix until incorporated.
- Fold in cheese, sugar and salt with spatula, mix.
- Add in eggs and mix thoroughly with spatula.
- Gently gather dough, pack with hands to form a ball.
- Take a handful of dough, roll to very slender log of 1/2" diameter.
- Cut 1 1/2" length of dough with knife.
- Cover the rest of dough with damp towel to prevent drying.
- If using cookie cutter, just roll dough out with rollingpin and cut with cookie cutter.
- Brush with eggwash and sprinkle some grated cheese on top.
- Bake in 350 preheated oven until golden yellow about 20 min. Rotate pan halfway baking.
In general, this is a ultra easy cookie to make. Just a little bit pain if there is no cookie press or some cutter. The only complaint I usually hear is how they can get very brittle crumbly or very dry. The only idea I can come up is that once it has some tint of beautiful golden yellow, take it out from oven. Because these cookies bake very quickly and any extra minute of overbaking will dry it out. Unless of course, some people may enjoy it crispy and brittle. :)