When I started blogging last year, I was hoping it would be fun and would get me through the dreary grey winter.   Turns out it’s very fun, and has given me an entertaining hobby for  the spare hours after work and the gym each day.  Unfortunately, some days it’s all I can do to get a little dinner on the table at a reasonable hour.   These little savory, shortbread crackers finish out a bowl of soup or a tossed salad splendidly!   

To start, soften a stick of butter to room temperature (or zap it in the microwave  for a few seconds to speed up the process if you’re totally impatient like me).  Using an electric mixer, blend the butter with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and a generous pinch of cayenne.  You want to just blend the ingredients, taking care not to over mix.  Add 8 ounces of finely grated sharp or extra sharp cheddar and 1 cup of all purpose flour and mix until just blended.  Shape the dough into a disc, wrap and refrigerate for about 1/2 hour.

Preheat to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.  Remove the cooled dough.   On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4- to 1/8-inch-thick .   Add a little flour to the rolling pin to prevent the dough from sticking.

Using a round cutter, cut out rounds and arrange 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Instead of re-rolling scraps, just bake them ‘as is’ for nibbles.  Next time, I may cut them in little squares.

Never one to leave things well enough alone, I garnished the savory cookies with various toppings:  thyme from my winter garden, red chile flakes, a dusting of cayenne pepper, and some sprigs of rosemary from my kitchen herb garden.  Sorry the photo is so dark – did I mention the dark and dreary evenings up here?

Bake shortbread until lightly golden and beginning to brown on edges, about 15 minutes or longer as necessary.  Remove from oven & cool completely.

These little darlings are splendid!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature  (I used salted butter, but will use unsalted next time.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, finely shredded (I used sharp Tilamook cheddar because it’s what I keep on hand)
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

-adapted from Epicurious

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