June 23, 2010

Cheesy hearts

My four-yr old mol loves to be the sous-chef in my kitchen. In fact, she finds this title quite endearing and jumps at any chance to help me cook. So, when she got a cookbook (The Usborne Yummy Little Cookbook by Rebecca Gilpin and Catherine Atkinson) from her school library, she was very excited. We picked a recipe for which we had ingredients at hand and spent a wonderful morning grating, kneading, rolling and baking. This is an easy recipe, with almost 80% cooking by mol. For a change, I was the sous-chef :)

Mild cheddar cheese - 3 oz.
All-purpose flour - 1 cup
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Pepper powder (optional) - 1/2 tsp
Unsalted butter (refrigerated) - 1/4 cup (1/2 stick)
(Note: if using salted butter, reduce salt to a pinch)
Egg yolk - 1
Cold water - 4 tsps
Heart shaped (or any other shaped) cookie cutter
Greased cookie sheets

Grate the cheese and keep aside. Sift flour, salt and pepper into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks and add to the bowl. Mix butter into the flour so that its blended into the flour like granules. We used a pasty cutter (http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:Pastry_Blender). One can also rub the mixture with fingers until it looks like breadcrumbs. Now add half of the cheese and mix well.

Beat the egg yolk and water in a small bowl. Reserve 2 tsps of this mixture in a cup and pour the rest over the flour mixture. Stir and mix. Knead into a a smooth round dough ball. Wrap the dough into plastic foodwrap and put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven at 375 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Sprinkle flour onto a clean work surface and roll out the dough with a rolling pin, until 1/4 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out hearts. Put them on the cookie sheet. Squeeze the scraps into a ball and roll it out again. Cut more shapes. Repeat until no dough is left.

Brush the tops of the hearts with egg mixture and then sprinke them with the remaining cheese. Bake the hearts for 12 minutes. Let them cool for about 5 minutes. Tastes wonderful when eaten warm.

Recipe adapted from The Usborne Yummy Little Cookbook by Rebecca Gilpin and Catherine Atkinson. You can find the book on http://www.usbornebooks.com/

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