Make Ahead

Spicy Cheddar Shortbread

June 19, 2013
2 Ratings
Photo by Romulo Yanes
  • Makes 30 to 40 cookies
Author Notes

No junk food snack comes close to these easy savory cookies, a perfect finger food. —Mark Bittman

What You'll Need
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Cut the stick of butter into chunks. Grease a baking sheet with more butter. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times; as soon as the mixture resembles coarse meal, stop. Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic, wrap it, and press it gently into a ball. Refrigerate the dough for at least 20 minutes or up to several hours.
  2. Pinch off heaping tablespoon?sized pieces of the dough and roll them into 1?inch balls with your hands. Put the balls on the prepared pan, leaving 2 inches between them. Press down on each ball with your fingers to flatten it to ¾ inch thick. If there is dough left over when the sheet is filled, wait and cook a second batch.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the shortbreads are puffed and golden brown. When they're cool enough to handle, transfer them to a wire rack and bake the remaining dough. Serve right away or store covered at room temperature for up to 1 day.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Tina Breen
    Tina Breen
  • Becos
  • albascott
  • JanetFL
My books include the bestselling How to Cook Everything and Vegan Before 6 P.M. (VB6), where I provide all the necessary tools for making the switch to a Flexitarian diet with lists for stocking the pantry, strategies for eating away from home in a variety of situations, pointers for making cooking on a daily basis both convenient and enjoyable, and a complete 28-day eating plan showing VB6 in action.

9 Reviews

Tina B. January 19, 2022
So I adapted this recipe with a Gluten-Free Flour Blend 1.5 cups of Cup4Cup Pie Crust Mix) the only change made was to delete the cayenne, since I used 8 oz of Habanero Cheddar Cheese. These were absolutely AWESOME, no pasty floury texture, and they were NOT fragile, luke other Gluten-free Shortbread recipes. U think I jusy found the correct blend for traditional Shortbread Cookies, even tho the blend is heavy in cornstarch.
kwolffman December 30, 2017
Finally got around to making these. They are delicious but are even better with two tweaks: 1. Make the balls smaller than 1 inch. 1/2 to 3/4 inch is good. 2. Press them into flat discs, not 3/4 inch high cookies. The end result will be crisper and more like a cheese straw but still maintaining some of the shortbread cookie texture. As originally written, the recipe yields cookies that are too doughy for my taste.
Sandi December 19, 2015
Whoops! What do you do if you don't have a food processor? Someone please advise!
Sandi December 19, 2015
Oh Heck! What do you do if you don't have a
Becos July 7, 2013
These were simple and absolutely perfect!
albascott July 1, 2013
Delicious! A little too much of cayenne pepper for my taste, but so good....
jenniebites July 1, 2013
My Grandma makes these, but with Rice Krispie treats mixed in for crunch. And when I lived in Maryland I added Old Bay instead of cayenne.
JanetFL June 29, 2013
Can a portion of this dough be frozen for later use?
Freddie June 29, 2013
1. Pre-heating the oven should be at the beginning of step 2 (why put it in step 1 if you're going to wait 20 minutes to several hours for the dough to firm up?)
2. A quantity of 30-40 cookies that must be eaten within a day? This is obviously a party food, not a simple snack, as suggested in the Author's Notes.