When it comes to snacks, most people would guess I'm Team Sweet all the way, but my true allegiance is Team Salt.
Don't get me wrong... I get chocolate cravings just like the next gal, but it usually just takes a bite or two to put the craving to bed. Put a bowl of popcorn or chips in front of me, on the other hand, and it's guaranteed to disappear in five minutes flat.
In other words, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I gobbled down almost half a batch of these savoury cheddar cookies before they'd even had a chance to cool from the oven.
For totally scientific reasons, obviously, because I really wanted to make sure that the fifth cookie was just as delicious as the first. (And in case you're curious, it totally was. As were the sixth, seventh and eighth.)
What was a surprise, though, is that my husband ate several without me even guilting him into it. Coming from a man who despises any form of cheese aside from melted mild cheddar, that's high praise indeed.
That's because these cookies strike a perfect balance between salty, spicy, crispy and rich.
The combination of dry mustard, cayenne and smoked paprika gives them a little kick that isn't overtly spicy (and, as an added bonus, also gives them their golden-yellow hue), a little semolina flour gives them a toothsome crunch, and a good-quality aged cheddar ensures that they've got loads of sharp cheese flavour.
They are, in a word, the most perfect savoury cookie ever. (And yes, they're kind of reminiscent of Goldfish crackers, but only in the best possible way. Trust me on this.)
Plus like all icebox cookies, these lovelies are absolutely perfect for the holidays, because you can prepare the dough several days in advance and then keep it in the fridge (or freezer) to be baked up at a moment's notice.
(OK, more like a half-hour's notice, but that's still a pretty sweet deal as far as I'm concerned.)
Serve them up as part of your holiday spread, bring them to the office potluck, or pack them up in a pretty cellophane package to give out to your favourite cheese-heads.
No matter what, they're sure to be a hit... even with those weirdoes from Team Sweet.
This cheesy twist on the classic icebox cookie is perfect for the holidays, thanks to a simple dough that comes together in a matter of minutes and that can be kept in the fridge (or freezer) so you can make a fresh batch whenever it's needed.
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup semolina flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp dry mustard
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tbsp cold water (or more, as needed)
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine cheddar, flour, semolina, salt, mustard and cayenne. Pulse 4-5 times to combine, then add the butter and pulse 7-10 times or until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.
- With the processor running on low, add the water and process until the dough comes together into a ball. (If it looks too crumbly, add more water 1 tsp at a time until it comes together.)
- Transfer dough to a large piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Roll into a 10-inch long log, then wrap up and twist ends to enclose tightly. Chill until the cookie dough is quite firm, about 1 hour.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice the chilled log into ¼-inch thick slices. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet, spacing ½" apart, and bake in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes or until the crackers are golden brown and firm in the center. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool off completely.
Preparing in Advance: You can prepare the dough in advance and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or transfer to an airtight freezer bag and frozen for up to 2 weeks then thawed. If you freeze the dough, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes (or until it is firm but easily sliceable), then slice and bake as usual.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 35 mins
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Canadian