This morning, as I was working at my computer, I had the Today show on and saw a segment with Mark Bittman preparing a few recipes for quick holiday entertaining or drop-in guests. Since we just learned that some friends from out-of-town would be stopping here for a visit around lunch time tomorrow, I was happy to see this show.
Bittman's recipe for Cheese Shortbread sounded perfect as I had already planned to serve a platter of a sliced meat and cheese with crackers and baguette slices. These savory cookies sounded like a perfect addition to the platter. I adapted the recipe to things I had on hand.
I found the dough a little difficult to bring together into a log, but with a little extra pressing and prodding, I finally got it to stay together.
I refrigerated the dough for about 30 minutes but I think a longer refrigeration would have been even better. The recipe states that the dough can be rolled into logs, wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to a month. How perfect for quick entertaining!
I added some red pepper flakes and a couple of dashes of Tabasco which gives these a nice little 'bite'. They could be easily adapted to many different variations, which I'd like to try!
Cheesy-Spicy Shortbread Wafers
~recipe adapted from Mark Bittman
by Savoring Time in the Kitchen
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, cut into cubes
2 cups grated, aged white cheddar (you could also use Gruyère, Swiss or any other semi-hard cheese)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika or ground cumin (optional)
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 dashes of Tabasco
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse just until the mixture resembles a coarse meal being careful not to over process. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a pastry cutter or fork and blend the ingredients in a bowl to the coarse meal stage.
Form the dough into a ball and cut in half. Shape each half into a log about 2-2-1/2 inches thick and wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30minutes. The logs can be frozen for up to a month.
Cut the refrigerated or frozen dough crosswise into 1/4-inch slices and place on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet leaving a 2 inches space between them.
Bake until the slightly puffed and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.