I’ll just say right off the bat that these are addictive.
For me, they are the adult version of Cheez-Its that I used to eat when I was a child. Hypnotically I would eat them, one by one, until I came to and realized I had just eaten the entire box.
My mother, a good Southern woman, made what we called Cheese Biscuits, a short, buttery-cheddary wafer spiked with cayenne pepper. She made them for church socials, teas and holidays. This shortbread recipe resembles the one she used to make, but I have switched out the cheddar for one of my favorite cheeses of all times – aged gouda. The little bit of rosemary gives it a nice herby edge.
And just like Cheese Biscuits, these savory shortbread wafers can show up at any party and are particularly delicious with all kinds of wines from sparkling to rose′ to reds and whites.
The dough can be made ahead, rolled and frozen for up to a month. Just thaw them in the refrigerator before slicing and baking. Make a lot because a plate of them will disappear in moments. Maybe even before they make it out to the party…
Aged Gouda and Rosemary Shortbread
(makes approximately 3 dozen biscuits)
2 sticks unsalted butter, cool room temperature
1 cup grated aged gouda cheese
2 cups unbleached flour
¾ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
Fleur de Sel or Maldon Salt
Heat oven to 350°. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
Line a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
Place the butter and cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until well combined. Combine the flour, rosemary and salt in a medium bowl. With the mixer running, add the flour/salt mixture, mixing just until everything is blended and the dough can be handled.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide it into two sections. Roll each section into a 1 ½” wide cylinder. Wrap tightly in parchment paper and chill for at least 4 hours.
Allow the cylinders to come to cool room temperature. Slice into coins between 1/8” and ¼” thick. Place on the prepared baking sheets, with room between them to spread. Brush the tops of the crackers with the egg white and sprinkle with a few grains of fleur de sel or Maldon salt.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Cool on a rack before serving.
Store in airtight containers for up to 1 week.