These humble yet delicious featherweight cookies hail from Russia. Gusinie lapki translates to “goose feet,” and once you see the folded shape of these cookies, you’ll understand why. Traditional recipes incorporate a beloved Russian ingredient, farmers’ cheese, to achieve a light, flaky texture. We chose to make our version with a product that’s easier to find stateside, cottage cheese, which had the signature texture and tang of Russian recipes. Mixing the dough in the food processor like pie dough and cutting cold butter into the flour before adding the cheese also helped achieve the traditional flaky texture. While they may look intricate, these cookies are easy to form: We simply rolled the dough thin, cut out circles, and folded the circles into quarters. Brushing the rounds with butter and coating them with sugar before folding gave them a crystalline sparkle and a touch of sweetness throughout. We made a departure from classic recipes by mixing in fragrant cardamom and orange zest; we love the touch of sophistication these flavors add, but they can be omitted if you desire a more traditional version.
- Yield: 48 cookies
- 1 tablespoons sugar, plus 1 cup for rolling
- ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled, plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup (8 ounces) cottage cheese
- Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine 1 cup sugar and cardamom in shallow bowl; set aside.
- Process orange zest and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in food processor until combined, about 10 seconds. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and process until combined, about 5 seconds. Scatter chilled butter over top and pulse until pea-size pieces of butter form, about 10 pulses. Add cottage cheese and process until dough forms, 20 to 30 seconds. Transfer dough to counter and divide in half. Form each half into disk, wrap disks tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Working with 1 disk of dough at a time, roll into 14- to 15-inch circle ⅛ inch thick on lightly floured counter. Using 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut dough into circles. Gently reroll scraps and cut into circles. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter. Brush both sides of each dough circle with butter. Dip both sides of each circle in sugar-cardamom mixture to coat. Fold each circle into quarters, pinching gently at corner to adhere; space cookies 1 inch apart on prepared sheets.
- Bake cookies until light golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Let cookies cool completely before serving.