Monday, May 4, 2015

Marianne's Windmills

Everyone should have a signature recipe, right? Even if you're not much of a cook or a baker, sooner or later someone is going to ask you to bring a dish to a church social, a cookout, or a pot luck dinner. These cookies were my mother's signature dish. People always asked her to bring them. At Christmas, even though there were loads of other cookies, people were disappointed if my mom's cottage cheese cookies didn't make an appearance.

Does anyone else remember the 1960's French twist?

My mother was prone to making up names for things that would appeal to us kids. So she called her cottage cheese cookies Windmills. She even called the Buche de Noel a Lincoln Log. Of course, that encouraged us to ask for it year round!

The women of my mother's generation (think June Cleaver vacuuming in her pearls) tackled everything: gardening; sewing; painting and home repairs; cooking; and baking. They did it all and found time to be moms and volunteer in the community. It wasn't until I started writing the Domestic Diva Mysteries that I realized they were the original domestic divas, but they called themselves housewives back then and acted like it was no big deal.

So do these cookies really have cottage cheese in them? You bet. And it's not a mistake that there's no sugar. It's hard to believe that just plain cottage cheese, butter, and flour could make something so tasty. They do have jam in them and a lemon sugar drizzle over top to add a bit of sweetness. Use jam or preserves that are fairly thick. Raspberry, blackberry, and apricot work well.

Don't worry if the little windmill arms pop open. They'll still taste good!

I'm very lucky to still have my mom. Can't wait to see what she thinks of her signature cookies! Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Marianne's Windmill Cookies

2 cups flour
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup butter
jam or preserves (seedless raspberry, blackberry, apricot)
powdered sugar

In a food processor, combine the flour, cottage cheese, and butter. Pulse until they form a ball. (You can also mix them without a food processor. Combine by cutting the butter in as you would for a pie crust.) Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for one to two hours.

Roll out the dough. Slice ragged edges off the perimeter (with a pastry crimper if you have one).  Cut the dough into 3 inch squares. Slice each corner diagonally, leaving the center intact. Dab jam in the center. Lift one edge of a corner and press into the jam. Go around the square, lifting the same side of each corner and pressing it into the middle until you have a windmill. Give the center one more good push to secure it.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. They should be a light golden shade.

After they have cooled, mix powdered sugar with enough lemon juice to make a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over the cookies.

Hard to believe these 3 items could make cookies!

Pulse in food processor until ingredients form a ball.
Have one of these? Now you can use it!
Make diagonal cuts in each corner but leave the center intact.
Add a dab of jam and fold one side of a corner in. Then the next one . . .
Bake 25 minutes.


  1. Can't wait to try these cookies. They sound yummy.thanks for sharing the recipe.

    1. Thank you, Verna. They're a little different but we love them!

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  3. The cookies look amazing! Thank you for the recipe, and the information about them.

    1. You're so welcome, Jen. I always love seeing you here!

  4. Love recipes. Sound pretty easy and tasty. jrs362 at hotmail dot com

  5. Your mom looks so elegant! And these cookies look divine--love the fact that there's no added sugar. I'll definitely be trying these!

    1. Peg, our moms came from a generation that tried to be elegant. Perish the thought of jeans!

  6. You have our attention. Cookies that don't have sugar?
    Must try these.
    Love the picture of your mother.
    Happy Mother's Day to all.

    1. Libby, I think you might like them. They're a little more like pastries than cookies, I think.

  7. Joining in to thank you for the lovely post, Krista. Your mom is so beautiful! And you are so right about the "women's work" of that generation. Every so often, a labor organization adds up the value of everything a "housewife" does: cooking, cleaning, child care, etc. It's a fortune (as well it should be) because having a mom that cares for you (and about you) is truly a treasure.

    Your mom's Windmills look amazing, and the recipe (with no sugar in the dough!), yes, I can't wait to give them a try. Thanks to you and her for sharing it with all of us. Happy Mother's Day!

    ~ Cleo

    1. Thank you, Cleo. I think she was a pretty woman. Too bad I take after my dad! It's amazing how much women do. And you're 100% correct that it's a blessing to have a mom that cares about you.

      I suspect that you and Marc might like these. I should add that (like pastries) they're best the first day when they're fresh.

  8. Wow these look great!!!! Can't wait to try them!!!

  9. These look both delicious and easy. I love the "no sugar" part, since I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to cut back on sugar. Thanks, Krista, for sharing your mom's recipe!