A while ago I started to think about Shavuot*. Food-wise, it’s probably my favourite of the Jewish festivals, not least because it’s all about DAIRY, and because the Jewish dietary laws prohibit mixing milk and meat, menus tend towards the vegetarian/fish options – hurrah!**
I made my no-bake raspberry cheesecake mousse a little while ago, and was looking for other creamy, cheesy Shavuot-friendly ideas, when I stumbled across something on Pinterest. It was a biscuit with a ‘cheesecake’ filling, completely enclosed by the cookie exterior. However, when I read the recipe it became clear that it was the sort of (American) recipe I hate, which uses 3 different sorts of pre-prepared cake/pudding/other mix and combines them into some monstrous chemical-packed horror. Eurgh. So, I took the idea, and figured out how to make something similar using actual food.
I had to make (and sample!) three batches of these before I perfected the recipe. Oh, the sacrifices I make! The first batch had far too much cinnamon in the crust. The second batch was better, but the filling just wasn’t ‘cheesecakey’ enough. Batch three was perfect – crumbly-soft lightly spiced crust, tangy creamy cheesecake filling, mmmm. My volunteer tasters (sorry, I couldn’t eat 36 cookies singlehanded, tempting as it was) aka DH’s colleagues, agreed that I’d nailed it.
And just in time for Shavuot, too 🙂
These aren’t nearly as fiddly to make as you might think. And they’re totally worth it. Recipe makes 12 inside-out cheesecake cookies.
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Inside-out cheesecake cookies
For the cheesecake filling
- 40 g cream cheese (approx 3 tbsp)
- 5 g butter (1 tsp)
- 5 g sugar (1 tsp)
- 20 g soured cream (4 tsp)
- 1 drop vanilla essence
- Zest of half a lemon + 2 tsp juice
For the crust
- 100 g self-raising flour (generous 3/4 cup)
- 1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Good pinch cinnamon
- 35 g golden caster sugar (1/4 cup)
- 50 g margarine (approx 3 tbsp)
- 25 g agave syrup (or golden syrup or honey) (2 tbsp)
For the cheesecake filling
Combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Put into a shallow container and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
For the cookie crust
Mix the dry ingredients (flour, bicarb, cinnamon and sugar) then add the margarine and mix thoroughly to give lumpy crumbs.
Warm the syrup then add to the crumbs and mix well to produce a dough.
To make the cookies
Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.
Flatten a ball of dough between your palms. Scoop 1/12 of the frozen filling mixture (approx. 1 tsp) onto the flattened dough. Bring up the sides of the dough around the filling and pinch together. Roll into a ball, ensuring that the filling is completely enclosed. Place on the lined baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining dough until you have made 12 balls.
Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.
Allow to cool for a minute or two on the baking tray - the cookies will be very soft to begin with. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool down completely before serving.
Per cookie: 95 calories, 5g fat, 1g protein, 10g carbs
* Note for gentile readers – Shavuot is the Spring harvest festival, and celebrates G-d giving the Ten Commandments (and the rest of the Torah) to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. It comes 7 weeks after Pesach (Passover).
**Many years ago I was invited to a friend of a friend’s for Shavuot dinner. Our host was a kosher butcher. To get into the spirit of the festival, we started the meal with cheesecake. Then the table was cleared, we had to rinse our mouths with water, and a meat dinner was served… 🙁
Photos updated May 2016.