"Old Country" Cheese Danish-like Cookies (a.k.a. Cheese Deltelach)




My grandmother used to make these cookies that she called "deltelach" (with appropriate phlegm emphasis on the "ach").  They were filled with cheese and like little cheese danishes but with a fluffy almost bread-like cookie crust rather than a sticky pastry.  I've searched around the internet like mad but have been unable to find a photo or recipe.  She was from Czechoslovakia, so based on my research I think they're a version of "kolache".  Sadly, the recipes for kolache are quite varied, so I really did not know where to begin. Luckily my cousin had a recipe based on what she had learned from my grandmother, but the details were a tad sketchy.

Feeling up for a challenge (and bracing myself for failure) I made my first attempt this weekend.  And even though I was shooting in the dark, I couldn't help myself from modifying the recipe to make it healthier (using white whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour, egg beaters instead of egg whites, fat free sour cream in lieu of regular, lite cream cheese in place of the full fat version, almond milk instead of regular milk and fat free ricotta cheese instead of farmers cheese basically because I couldn't find farmers cheese).

The results were decent and at least reminiscent of my grandmother's handiwork, but I'm not there yet.  They were definitely edible but not nearly fluffy enough.  If anyone has any input on a recipe for "deltelach" or something similar it would be splendid if you could leave a comment.

Dough Ingredients:
1/2 cup almond milk
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup egg beaters
4 cups white whole wheat flour

Filling Ingredients:
1/2 pound fat free ricotta cheese
1/2 package lite cream cheese
1 tablespoon fat free sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons egg product
2 pinches of salt

Egg Wash Ingredients:
3 tablespoons egg beaters
3 tablespoons sugar

The Task:

1) Put the almond milk, butter and 1/2 cup sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Then allow to cool.

2) Place the yeast in the warm water and allow to come to life for 10 minutes.

3) Place the flour in a mixing bowl and place the yeast, the 1/2 cup of egg beaters and the butter/almond milk mixture into the center of the dough (like you're imitating someone making fresh pasta).  Mix all of the ingredients together but don't overwork it.  Place the dough into a freezer ziploc bag and refrigerate overnight.

4) The next day take the dough out of the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

5) Mix all of the filling ingredients together.  Mix the egg wash ingredients together in a separate small bowl.

6) Roll out the dough and cut squares of about 3 inches by 3 inches.

7)  Place about a tablespoon of the filling mixture in the middle of a square and pinch all four corners of the square together in the center.  So, you will have four open corners on the side but the top will be covered.  Repeat until you've used up the filling.  I had extra dough but there were so many cookies that I called it quits though I could have made more filling to use up the dough.

8) Place the cookies on baking pans and brush the egg wash over the cookies.

9) Bake for about 16-17 minutes until the cookies are lightly browned.

10) Allow to cool.

11) Let me know what you think.

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