Spicy Cheddar Shortbread

An unquestioned favorite among my holiday treat box recipients. Maybe it was just the rarity of receiving a savory gift around the holidays or maybe its just that no one can resist spicy, cheesy, perfectly flaky shortbread. Either way these crackers are so easy and so delicious you can freeze the dough, pull them out whenever you have company and serve them in no time. I know from experience, your guests will be in awe of your apparent skill.
Adapted from these little crackers

From the Box:
Nothing cures a holiday sugar overdose faster than a savory, spicy snack to remind you just why dessert comes after dinner. But don’t be fooled by these innocuous little crackers. Stuffed full of sharp cheddar, pepper and a sprinkling of cayenne these little crackers just might bite back!
Try with some savory jam or a glass of wine.

1/2 cup butter at room temperature (i always use salted)
2 cups (about 8oz) sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (cheddar and parmesan also work well together)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp salt (1 1/2 if using unsalted butter)

1. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachement beat butter and grated cheese soundly, about 2 minutes.
2. Add flour, salt, pepper and cayenne and continue to beat. dough should be crumbly, but just about to come together, or forming larger clumps. If your dough is too dry add ice water, a tsp at a time, adding as little as possible to make the dough manageable.
NB: I needed to add water when my butter and cheese were colder and therefore less prone to blending with the flour. Using comfortably-room-temperature ingredients and making sure your mixer has had enough time to do its job may avoid the need to add water. If not, that’s fine, just add very sparingly.
3. Turn out dough on a piece of parchment or wax paper and form into two logs. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice logs into about 1/4 inch thick crackers and place on an ungreased cookie sheet (if frozen, you may want to let the logs thaw on the counter for about 10 minutes before slicing). Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or just until the edges start to turn golden.

Neel’s Addition: a drop of truffle oil on these crackers is really to die for. I’ve never baked the oil in but will have to try next time. In the meantime, whenever these crackers are around my truffle oil stores become sadly depleted!


2 thoughts on “Spicy Cheddar Shortbread

  1. Baker Bettie says:

    These sound so good and look so pretty! Where did you get those little boxes. So cute. What a wonderful gift 🙂

    • Thistle says:

      Thank you! I searched around for those boxes for awhile. They are clear acetate truffle boxes and I couldn’t find them in a store near me so I ordered them online from a wedding supply site. Most of the time wedding supply sites don’t require minimum quantity purchases and they stock a lot of cute little things for DIY gifts, really useful!

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