Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Spicy Cheese Shortbread

Makes about 36
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper 
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375 F. Toss together cheese, flour, mustard and cayenne. Mix in butter. Knead with your hands to form a dough. If the dough feels very dry, add a tablespoon of water. On a floured surface, roll out half the dough to a thickness between 1/8- and 1/4-inch. Cut out with star, heart or leaf-shaped cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom. Remove to a rack to cool.

Savoury Cheddar Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

Makes about 36
1-1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese 
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese 
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg yolk 
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
1 cup all-purpose flour 
1 cup finely chopped pecans or unblanched almonds 
1 cup hot pepper jelly
Preheat oven to 350 F. In food processor, pulse together cheddar and parmesan cheeses and butter until smooth. Add egg yolk and pepper; pulse until blended. Add flour; pulse just until soft dough forms. Place pecans on plate. Place 1 cup water in bowl. With hands, roll scant tablespoonfuls (15 ml) of dough into 1-inch balls. Dip in water; roll in nuts to coat. Place on ungreased baking sheet. With thumb, make indentation in center of each. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Bake 15 minutes or until firm outside and lightly golden. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the baking sheet on a cooling rack, allowing the cookies to cool directly on the baking sheet. At this point cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature or frozen. Before serving, fill indentations with hot pepper jelly. If you have stored the cookies for a time before serving them, you can re-crisp them by baking them at 350 F for 3 minutes, then allow them to cool fully before adding the jelly.

Parmesan Rosemary Shortbread with Cranberry Topping

Makes about 16
1 cup (4 ounces) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened, cut into chunks
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

For topping:
1 package (12 ounces) cranberries
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium apple, cored, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Optional toppings: flavored Cheddar slices, Gruyère slices, walnuts
Preheat oven to 425° F. Pulse the Parmesan and butter in food processor until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add flour, rosemary, walnuts, pepper and salt. Process until ingredients hold together. Divide dough into two equal halves. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half into a circle about 7-inches round and 1/8-inch thick. Cut into eight wedges. Transfer wedges to a cookie sheet. Bake until golden around edges, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack.

For topping, combine cranberries, sugar, water and spices in large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in onions, apple and vinegar. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Before serving, top each slice of shortbread with a spoonful of the topping. Or, place the topping in a small bowl with a spoon. Put the bowl in the center of a large plate and scatter shorbread around the bowl.

Love and hugs,


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