Do you want to know something crazy about me?
I don’t like cheese. The smell, the squidginess – blech. Because it’s so unusual, I tend to remember every single person I meet who feels the same way. So far our numbers are small. One of my cousins. A good friend of my sister’s. My former boss. I’m looking for more club members, if you know anyone.
Actually, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m overstating the case somewhat. As I’ve gotten older my tolerance for this foodstuff has grown to the point where I enjoy cheese in the following, very specific, incarnations:
A judicious amount of mozzarella on pizza or lasagna (must be browned on top)
Freshly grated Parmesan on top of pasta
A chunk of mature cheddar on a cracker (must be cold and must not be dyed orange)
Ricotta and mascarpone OK in most forms
Cream cheese icing on a layer cake
… And crispy cheese biscuits.
For someone who doesn’t like cheese much, I have a bizarre love of cheese crackers. I think it’s because the cheese becomes almost caramelized in the oven, turning it into a completely different animal. So when my friend Chris took it upon himself to email me with his Christmas requests for the blog (yes, really) and included cheese shortbread on his (long) list, I knew I had to make it for him.
In the end, I’m not sure what I’ve made actually constitutes shortbread, but it’s close. I found the recipe at Chocolate & Zucchini and followed it to the letter – and what a recipe it is. These thin, savoury biscuits are buttery and cheesy with a hint of heat from smoked paprika (or you could use cayenne). They crumble as soon as they hit your tongue. The word moreish was invented to describe these little wonders.
I played around with cutting them to different widths and found that I liked the paper-thin ones the best – they take just 5 minutes to bake and shatter so deliciously under your teeth. And because you roll the easy peasy dough into a log, you can keep it in your fridge and bake off a fresh batch as needed throughout the holidays. This is the way to enjoy cheese!
NB: I did not eat any of that cheese in the photo. I took it from Edward’s cheese stash for staging purposes only!
Makes about 40 to 50 biscuits if sliced very thinly
Recipe at Chocolate & Zucchini