The simple combination of aged cheddar blended with the bite of ground chili pepper and the earthy flavors of rosemary and mustard evokes an autumn feeling with these savory shortbread crackers. These delicately crisp wafers literally melt in the mouth and perfectly pair with robust soups or salads.
¾ cup butter, softened
1½ cups grated aged or sharp cheddar cheese
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon ground chile pepper
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon light brown sugar
1½ cup all-purpose flour
In a medium-size mixing bowl, cream together butter and cheeses with a wooden spoon. Add the chili pepper, salt, rosemary, mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce, and light brown sugar; and, blend well into the cheese mixture. Gently fold in the all-purpose flour until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl and begins to form a shaggy dough. In order to avoid excessive gluten from forming, use a light hand when folding and only combine until all the flour is incorporated.
Turn the dough out onto a counter top, which has been lightly floured. Bring the dough together gently, softly kneading no more than 8 times. Shape and pat the dough into a flat disk no more than 1-inch thick. Cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap.Chill until the dough feels firm and cold, at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. On the same lightly floured surface, roll out dough with a rolling pin to ¼-inch thickness. Using the cookie or biscuit cutter of choice, cut out the desired shapes of each cracker. Place the cut-out wafers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving about 1/2- to 1-inch between each wafer. Bake for 18 minutes, or until the crackers are just crisp and golden brown on the edges. Serve plain or with a small garnish of fresh rosemary leaves, fresh thyme sprigs, or nut halves.
Yield: About 18- 24 crackers (amount varies depending on the size of the cookie cutter).
Recipe Created and Stylized by R. Shannon Mock and Brontë E. Mock
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