Cookery Maven Blog

Cheddar & Parmesan Savory Shortbread

I can live without cookies, cake and chocolate but take cheese away and I just might expire on the spot. When I bought Laura Werlin's The All American Cheese and Wine Cookbook and found a recipe for cheese shortbread crackers, I knew I had just met my newest favorite recipe. This was a 'slice and bake' cookie I could get behind— butter, parmesan and cheddar with Maldon sea salt on top, what's not to love?

Cheddar Parmesan Shortbread Crackers (from Laura Werlin's The All American Cheese and Wine Cookbook)

4 ounces cheddar cheese, coarsely grated 2 ounces parmesan cheese, finely grated 3/4 cup flour 1/4 tsp dry mustard (I use Coleman's) 1/4 tsp kosher salt 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces 2 tbsp water, plus more if needed

In the bowl of a food processor, place all ingredients except the butter and water. Pulse 5 times. Add the butter and pulse again until the butter pieces are the size of BB's. Add the water, 1 tbsp at a time, and pulse just until the dough holds together. If the dough is still crumbly, add more water 1 teaspoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

Turn the dough out onto a large piece of waxed paper. Roll the dough into a log, 9 to 10 inches long, and square off the ends. Refrigerate, well wrapped, for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Or freeze it for up to 1 month.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

To make the crackers, cut the log into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet 1 inch apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the crackers are a light golden color. Flip the crackers, sprinkle Maldon sea salt on top and bake for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until they are golden around the edges. Cool on a rack and serve at room temperature.

Makes about 3 dozen crackers.

Cheesy Bread Done Right

I had some of Michael's Sassy Nanny feta sitting in my refrigerator, the tail end of a hunk of sheep's milk pecorino, mascarpone, half a loaf of nearly stale ciabatta and a handful of grape tomatoes. All the components for one of my favorite things— garlic cheese bread. Except this was going to a fancy pants kind of cheese bread, full of tangy cheese, fresh herbs and tomatoes. Good and tasty things happen when you clean out the refrigerator.

What's In The Fridge Garlic Cheese Bread

1/2 loaf day old ciabatta, cut in half lengthwise

1/2 cup mascarpone

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup feta (I used Sassy Nanny)

1/4 cup pecorino

3 - 4 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp chives, minced

12 - 14 grape tomatoes, halved

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add butter, feta, pecorino and mascarpone to a mixing bowl and mix until combined. Fold garlic, chives and tomatoes into cheese mixture and spread on ciabatta. Sprinkle coarse salt (I use Maldon's sea salt) and pepper on top. Bake in 425 degree oven for 10 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Perfect lunch with a green salad with a tangy vinaigrette.