As hostess of a cookie party, it is your job to make sure there are enough savory snacks to balance out the sweet and sugary cookies. Surprise guests and offer an assortment of savory cookies! Cookies made with a variety of cheese, herbs, and seasonings are a nice break from chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter. If desired, plate these cookies next to bowls filled with marinated olives, cheese spreads, or sliced deli meats. To get the recipes to three delicious savory cookies — cheddar cheese thumbprint, rosemary parm spritz cookies, and the mushroom blue cheese cookies pictured at left —
1-1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans or unblanched almonds
1 cup hot pepper jelly
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In food processor, pulse together cheddar and parmesan cheeses and butter until smooth. Add egg yolk and pepper; pulse until blended. Add flour; pulse just until soft dough forms.
- Place pecans or almonds on plate. Place 1 cup water in bowl. With hands, roll scant tablespoonfuls (15 ml) of dough into 1-inch balls. Dip in water; roll in nuts to coat. Place on ungreased baking sheet. With thumb, make indentation in center of each. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Bake 15 minutes or until firm outside and lightly golden. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the baking sheet on a cooling rack, allowing the cookies to cool directly on the baking sheet. At this point cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature or frozen.
- Before serving, fill indentations with hot pepper jelly. If you have stored the cookies for a time before serving them, you can re-crisp them by baking them at 350 F for 3 minutes, then allow them to cool fully before adding the jelly.
Makes 36 cookies.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 large egg yolk
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely grated Pecorino cheese
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoons fine salt
Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
Special Equipment: Cookie Press
- Bring all ingredients to room temperature.
- Beat the butter and lemon zest with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Slowly beat in the egg yolk and cream.
- Whisk the flour, pecorino, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, sugar, rosemary, salt, and nutmeg together in a bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter mixture while mixing slowly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat on medium speed to make a slightly sticky dough.
- Fill the cookie press with the dough. If you do not have a cookie press, use an icing bag with a decorative tip or a zip lock baggie with one of the corner tips cut off. Assemble the press with the desired disk shape (see cook's note), and press cookies onto ungreased baking sheets. Leave about one inch between cookies. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and refrigerate cookies for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Bake cookies, rotating pan halfway through, until golden, the cheese browns a bit, and the cookies smell nutty, about 20 to 25 minutes. Briefly cool the cookies on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool. Serve or store in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 month.
Makes 4 dozen cookies.
Please Note: these freeze beautifully. Press the cookies out into desired shapes on cookie sheets and freeze. Transfer frozen cookies to a plastic bag, seal, and keep frozen for up to 1 month. When ready to bake, lay out frozen cookies on cookie trays and bake from frozen for 25 minutes. Some disk shapes work better than others. Since this is savory cookie, we liked the cutters that result in a cracker shape cookie, like the ribbon, clover. Stars and and snowflakes work, too.
1/4 ounce dried wild mushrooms, about 1/2 cup
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup milk
- Place mushrooms in a spice grinder, and grind until fine, about 15 seconds.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle, mix butter and blue cheese on medium until combined. Add flour, ground mushrooms, and pepper; mix just until combined and crumbly. Add milk, and mix just until dough comes together (the dough will be quite stiff).
- Divide dough evenly into three disks. Wrap two disks in plastic wrap; set aside.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one disk to be 1/16 inch thick. Cut out crackers with a 31/2-inch round cutter. Transfer to a baking sheet; prick each with a fork three or four times. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Repeat with remaining dough.
- Bake until golden brown, about 22 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Store crackers in an airtight container up to 1 week.
Makes 3 dozen.