The Summer Wardrobe: Parmesan Shortbread

My summer wardrobe began with a cocktail: refreshing, lovely and Spanish-inspired. But, on its own, a drink is not half as much fun as it could be. For that first drink of the evening, particularly in hot weather, I also want something salty to go with it. Not crisps. Not nuts. Something a bit, you know, dressed up. Something to say, especially if you’re drinking with friends, that you’ve made a bit of an effort.

These biscuits, a bit like the black and red skirt that I bought from Target ten years ago, come out every summer. And winter. Oh and the rest of the year. They were the poster child for my Kickstarter campaign for The French Home Cookbook two years ago and still remind me of the brilliance of that book which will, one day, get beyond a file folder on my computer. But mostly, they remind me of how brilliant a simple recipe can be and how much pleasure it can bring to lots of people, including me.

What I can’t quite believe is that I have never shared this before, not on the blog anyway. So, without further ado, here is the best cheese biscuit recipe ever. Tweak it with different cheeses (hard, salty cheeses, like Parmesan, Pecorino or Manchego, not Cheddar or soft cheese), use chilli powder or smoked paprika and, if you can remember 150g cheese/ flour/butter, you’ll barely ever need to refer to this post again. But, you know, do come back; we’ve only just started getting dressed…

Makes about 40

Cupboard, or things you may already have
butter, 150g
plain flour, 150g
large pinch of mild chilli powder, or smoked pimentón
salt

Shopping list
Parmesan, 150g

How to
1. Take the butter out of the fridge several hours before cooking to bring it to room temperature.

2. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan-assisted/gas 4 and line a baking sheet or two with baking parchment.

3. Finely grate the Parmesan then mix it in a large bowl with the flour, chilli powder and salt. Then cut the butter into small pieces and rub it in to the dry ingredients to form a smooth dough (this can be done by hand or in a food mixer).

4. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut out small circles with a biscuit cutter or a small glass.

5. Place the biscuits on the baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until just golden. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

 

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