cheese biscuits & sables

As for something to go with wine or drinks, these small cheese biscuits or cracker are sensational. Both recipes seem quite similar ingredient-wise but have different textures and tastes. I like to make quite small and uniform pieces here, first I think they look so much better that way and secondly, I am a little on the obsessive side considering the plate-appeal of a row of identical tiny biscuits. There is a subtle beauty in serial imagery – a little modern art theory on the side.

Since these savoury cookies sport equal baking temperatures, you can bake them at the same time if you have a fan oven, although you might want to swap the sheets round halfway trough to achieve even browning.

I did talk earlier about an Elderberry Cosmopolitan and I think these provide quite a good nibble with the weekend drinks and apparently I am not the only one thinking about Cosmopolitans at the moment.

British cheese biscuits
adapted from a receipt by Darren Wright in Deborah Devonshire’s The Duchess of Devonshire’s Chatsworth cookery book with a few small changes.

200g / 7oz plain flour
a pinch of baking powder (roughly ¼ teaspoon)
110g / 4 oz / 1 stick of cold butter, cut into cubes
110g / 4oz medium mature gouda or cheddar, grated
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
juice of ½ lemon

Blend the flour and baking powder. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend together into a dough. Knead briefly and shape into a log of 3cm (1¼ inches) diameter and wrap tightly in cling film. Leave in the fridge for at least two hours or freeze until use. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) or 180°C fan oven. Cut the cheese logs into 5mm (¼ inch) thick coins and place on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Bake for 5-6 minutes on each side until slightly browned.

Cheese sables
adapted from Clarissa Dickson-Wright: Clarissa’s Comfort Food. Really only slightly: I changed the cheese, added a little more spicyness, fiddled the method and shrunk the size.

75g butter at room temperature
75g a mixture of medium mature gouda & parmesan, both grated
110g plain flour
a pinch of salt
a generous pinch of dry English mustard powder
a pinch of cayenne pepper or hot smoked paprika

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) or 180°C fan oven.
In a food processor, whisk the butter until soft, add the cheese and other ingredients and blend quickly. Shape the dough into a thin disk and cover with clingfilm. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or 1 hour. Roll out the dough to a 5mm (¼ inch) thickness and use a pastry wheel to cut it diagonal into small rhombus shaped biscuits. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

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