For The Potato And Cheddar Cheese Filling
Peel the potatoes and cut each one into small pieces. Place the potatoes in a large pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring the potatoes to a rapid boil, reduce heat and cook until they are fork tender. Drain the potatoes, cover and set aside.
While the potatoes are boiling, saute the onions in butter over medium heat until they are translucent. Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic, and continue to saute until the onions are lightly caramelized (about 10 minutes).
To the drained potatoes, add the onions, shredded cheddar cheese, Cheez Whiz or Velveeta cheese, salt and pepper. Use a potato masher or electric mixer to mix all of the ingredients until they are smooth. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Cover and refrigerate until cooled.
For The Perogy Dough
Add the milk and water to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute or until the liquid is warm but not hot. Add the cubed butter to the warm liquid and stir until it is melted. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the milk mixture into the flour until it is completely incorporated. Continue to mix for 1 minute. The dough will be quite sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly (4 or 5 turns) until it forms a ball. The dough will be very soft but the small addition of flour should mean that it is no longer as sticky. Use the mixing bowl, overturned, to cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.
**You will require 2 batches of dough for the amount of filling shown above.**
To Assemble The Perogies
Divide the dough into quarters and work with only one piece at a time, leaving the other pieces covered. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough on a lightly floured surface, turning as needed to ensure that the dough does not stick. Roll the dough until it is about 1/8" thick.
Cut circles into the dough using a 2-1/2" round cookie cutter or the mouth of a glass. Ensure that you cut your circles as close together as possible because perogy dough will be tough if you try to re-roll it. Throw away any scrap pieces of dough. (Or you can do what we used to do as kids when we would get Grandma to boil the dough scraps and eat them with butter and salt. Yum!)
Place about 1-1/2 teaspoons of the filling into the center of the circle. I like to use a 1 oz ice cream style scoop to ensure consistency, but a spoon can be just as effective. Gently fold the dough over the filling and use your fingers to pinch the edges closed, careful not to get any of the potato filling in the pinched seam or your perogy will open when boiled.
Place the completed perogies on a flour dusted, linen tea towel. Cover the exposed perogies lightly with another tea towel and continue until all of the filling and dough is used.
To Freeze And/Or Serve
Perogies can be frozen, uncooked, at this point by freezing them in a single layer on lightly floured baking sheets. Once frozen, transfer the perogies to freezer bags in batches of one dozen per bag. The perogies could then be boiled and served as needed.
You can also precook your perogies and serve and/or freeze them as follows.
In a small pot, combine 1 cup of butter and 1 medium diced onion. Cook gently over medium heat for 15 minutes or until the butter has clarified and the onions are translucent. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Drop the perogies, one dozen at a time, into the boiling water. The perogies will cook and float to the surface of the water. Continue to boil for an additional 30 seconds once they have risen to the surface. Use a slotted spoon to remove the perogies from the water and place them in a bowl. Spoon about 2 - 3 tablespoons of onions and butter over the perogies and gently stir until they are coated.
You can serve immediately with additional sauteed onions, sour cream, jam, or garlic cream dill sauce. (Yes, my family eats perogies with jam! Don't knock it until you've tried it. It's really good.)
To freeze the precooked perogies:
Gently toss with the onions and butter as above, then place one dozen of the perogies into a freezer bag, in a single layer if possible, seal and freeze.
To serve the precooked, frozen perogies:
Place the frozen perogies in a covered, oven-proof dish with 1-2 tablespoons of butter and some diced onions and bake them for 30 minutes at 350 F, stirring as needed to ensure that they don't stick to the bottom of the dish.
Option 2 (as shown in pictures): Place the frozen perogies directly into a frying pan with a little butter and pan fry them over medium high heat until golden brown, turning once. Serve with additional sauteed onions, sour cream, jam, or garlic cream dill sauce.