Thursday, November 14, 2013
Celebrating Aunt Kathy's Birthday + Cheese Cookies (Wafers) Recipe
My aunt turned 71. They like to give each other silly, slightly rude cards. They both chuckle and say, "oh, I think you have been naughty" before even opening the envelope.
When they were younger they were very different. My aunt was a serious, studious young woman who made plans, worked hard and did well in college. My mother, being a more free spirited artist had a bit more fun and partied a bit more. One of my favorite stories is about the time when Kathy saved up to buy a nice coat. My mother had her eye on the coat. One day when Kathy was gone my mother took a pair of scissors to the coat and made it shorter so that it would fit her nicely. She was indeed naughty. I am sure that Kathy did not laugh about it at the time, but they have a good chuckle about it now.
At my mother's request I provided appetizers, including the much desired Cheese Cookies:
Galettes Au Fromage
via: Mastering the Art of French Cooking by S. Beck, L. Bertholle and Julia Child
(modifications are indicted with italics)
(About 30-50 wafers)
These featherweight wafers are often made of Swiss cheese, but you can use other cheese. The flour is just enough to hold the galettes together while they bake, but you will probably need more for soft cheeses, and should always bake one as a test.
These may be baked, then frozen, and reheated for 5 minutes or so in a hot oven. From "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" (Knopf, 1961).
1/2 pound (about 2 pressed-down cups) grated Swiss cheese (I use Emmentaler cheese for the best flavor.)
1/2 pound softened butter
3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour, more if needed (1 cup 2 TBL.)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
1 egg beaten with 1/2 teaspoon water in a small bowl
1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese for topping
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. (400 degrees)
Knead all the ingredients together in a bowl or on a board. The mixture will be sticky. Roll a 1-teaspoon bit into a ball in the palms of your hands, then flatten it into a cake 1/4 inch thick. Bake it for 8 to 10 minutes on a lightly buttered baking sheet in a hot oven to observe how it holds together; it should spread slightly, puff slightly, and brown. If it spreads out more than you wish, or is too fragile, knead in 1/4 cup more flour and make another test.
When you are satisfied, form the rest of the dough into cakes and place on baking sheets. Paint the tops with beaten egg and top each with a pinch of grated cheese. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the galettes have puffed, and browned slightly. Cool them on a rack.