Middle Eastern Cheese Rolls
adapted from Taste of Beirut
2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
6 ounces warm water
8 ounces shredded white cheese (mozzarella, akkawi or other)
6-8 ounces Feta
1 cup fresh minced parsley
1/2 cup minced onion
1 teaspoon allspice
2 large egg whites
1 large egg yolk (to shine the crust)
1. Proof the yeast by mixing in a little bit of warm water with the teaspoon of sugar; let it bubble up for 5 minutes. In the meantime, place the flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor; add the oil and use the dough hook attachment to mix until the oil is well-combined with the flour; add the yeast and water mixture and add another 1/2 to 3/4 cup of warm water to the bowl. Knead until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl and is compact and moist. Transfer the dough to a work surface, sprinkle some flour on it, knead briefly for a few seconds and place in a greased bowl, covered with a towel, in a warm place for one hour to rise.
2. Prepare the filling: place the chopped onion on a sieve, sprinkle with a dash of salt and let it drain its water; shred the cheeses and add the parsley, egg whites, spices and drained onion. Mix well to combine. Set aside until the dough has risen. Transfer the dough at this point to the work surface and roll out into a large circle. Cut rounds with a cookie cutter or the rim of a drinking glass. Place a tablespoon of cheese filling on each round and pinch the ends to form a little boat. Brush with a little beaten egg yolk to have a shiny crust.
3. Place on a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper; let the rolls set for thirty minutes to rise. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F. Bake for about 12 minutes or until the rolls are golden. Serve warm.
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