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Friday, June 3, 2016

June ABC challenge: cheesy cookies

Cheddar shortbread -- that's what we're dealing with here. You really want to use a sharp or at least medium cheddar for optimum flavor.  And since I used salted butter, I omitted any added salt.  I also reduced the recipe to 1/4 of the original.

Despite having a large collection of cookie cutters, I never seem to have what I want.  I was looking for something cheese-themed (a mouse?) or June-themed (a flower?), but didn't have either.  I opted for the mushroom because... when else am I going to use it?  The original recipe made 40 cookies; my cutter was a little smaller than called for, so I got 15 cookies and a small, leftover blob.

Here's what I used, with my changes in italics and strikeout (yield 10-15 cookies):

25g flour (about half whole wheat)
25g cold salted butter, in cubes
25g good quality, mild cheddar cheese, finely grated
1/4 egg yolk (about 1/2 teaspoon)
a pinch of salt if cheese is mild
mashed garlic, about 3 pea-sized balls, optional 

Rub the butter with the flour; add the cheese and garlic and mix. (I got a dough with just the butter and flour, so cheese had to be kneaded in.)  Add egg yolk and quickly form a dough. If it feels too sticky just add a little extra flour. Rap in cling film, shape into a flat disc and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven 355ºF to 390ºF conventional setting.  (This equals 309 to 340 convection.)  Roll dough out thinly, to about 1/10 inch thick, between two sheets of cling film and cut with a 1.5-inch cookie cutter.  Arrange the cookies on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes (I baked mine only 15), adjusting the temperature if necessary, until golden brown and crisp.  Cool on a rack.

I used a small convection/toaster oven and started with it set at 325. But 6 minutes in, they were already starting to brown, so I reduced the temperature to 300. (The thermometer continued to read 325, and even went up slightly after a while, but that could have been because it was against the side of the oven rather than sitting on a rack.)

Conclusion:  These were a little too salty, so unsalted butter is definitely in order (unless you're making them very spicy, in which case extra salt is a good thing.)  They had a light and delicate texture, and were nicely flavored. (Not as cheesy as Cheez-Its, but still noticeable.  The garlic was very mild.)  You definitely don't want to over-brown them, because that toasted flavor would overpower any other flavor.  These would be nice served with a cool, mild sour cream dip.  They're also good spread with just the tiniest amount of jam.

Recipe:   Easy Peasy Cheesy Cookies via Weekend Bakery


  1. Those are so cute! My post is coming soon.

  2. They look really good and flaky. I have yet to make them, but was definitely planning on adding a good pinch of cayenne pepper for a little kick :)