5 Ingredients or Fewer

Cheese Sables with Rosemary Salt

December  2, 2013
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 30
Author Notes

Can there be anything more fantastically savoury and moreish to have with a cocktail than a little cheese biscuit? That tang and crunch just go perfectly. These are crisp and with a good bite from strong cheese and a kick from the cayenne. Make a load of these to stash away in your freezer, ready to whip out when entertaining over Christmas. As you can see from my photograph, I served these with a Negroni but naturally the choice of drink is up to you. Or serve them anytime you would like a snack -- my children love them! —Anna May

Test Kitchen Notes

These little crackers are the perfect party bite. They're easy to make -- just throw everything in the whizzer, then roll, slice, and bake. The result is a crispy, buttery bite with just the right bit of herbal pop from the rosemary. I went straight Parmesan for the tailgate, but will be trying a mix of blue cheese and Parmesan for an upcoming lunch. —aargersi

What You'll Need
  • 100 grams soft butter
  • 100 grams self-rising flour
  • 100 grams strong cheese, grated (I use 50/50 Parmesan and vintage cheddar)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary needles, finely chopped (optional)
  • Salt (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). Whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor, or rub them together with your fingers. Form into a roll, wrap in cling wrap, and put in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up (this makes cutting it easier).
  2. Cut into thin slices and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden on top. If you want to add rosemary salt, pound the needles in a mortar with a pinch of salt and add a small sprinkle onto the sables when they come out of the oven. Cool on a wire rack to let them crisp up.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • foodiesophia
  • Julie D.
    Julie D.
  • Liz Crawford
    Liz Crawford
  • Rebecca
  • Marques

57 Reviews

foodiesophia May 1, 2022
This recipe was in the January 2015 Food & Wine magazine in "US cups-type" measurements: 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. self rising flour, 7 Tbsp. unsalted butter, 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese. The rest is as written in the recipe on this website.
Julie D. November 23, 2018
These got rave reviews at Thanksgiving and disappeared quickly, but the first batch was a melty mess that went into the trash bin. What I learned: the higher the butterfat amounts, the greater the melting. Using all Parmesan and reducing the amount of butter to 70g as recommended by others did the trick. Also, don’t let them get beyond light golden in color as they crumble more if they are more well cooked.
Lydia W. November 10, 2018
These are a win! I keep the rolled dough in the freezer and slice off just enough for each cocktail hour.
Melinda E. December 25, 2017
I made these to take to a Christmas Eve fete. I used the metric measurements for all the ingredients.However, I used bread flour (King Arthur brand) instead of self-rising flour since that is not a pantry staple for me and I couldn't see adding another flour to my collection. Although they did not bake up to look the photos here (they looked more like a lace cookie) they were delicious and people loved them.
Liz C. December 23, 2017
I already reviewed this recipe but I see a few people had trouble with it. The first time I made these I didn't have a scale so I converted to cups. Well, math is not my strong suit and they turned into a hot buttery cheesy puddle. I almost cried. However, my husband and son wolfed it down and still talk about it and may have liked it better than the real thing :) I have since made them successfully many times and they are hands down my favourite thing I have ever baked. So I would suggest double checking your math if you are converting weight to volume. 100 grams of butter is not the same volume as 100 grams of flour. And ask for a scale for Christmas :)
Rebecca August 22, 2017
Way too buttery for me even after I cut the butter down as some suggested. They came out very pretty, but were fragile. My husband says "normal" people will like them. I'm taking them to a party so I hope so.
elizabeth T. February 20, 2017
I makes these cheese biscuits and they melted in the oven, ran all over each other. I don't know what I did wrong. Tried another time cooking them at a lower heat than 350.Same results, still melted, never hardened. Any advice?
trvlnsandy February 20, 2017
what cheese did you use? Did you chill your dough? maybe slice and freeze and then baking would help.
Anna M. February 23, 2017
Sorry to hear that, did you use a very soft melty cheese? I hope you will try again!
MikNik April 4, 2017
This also happened to me the first time I made these. Now I cut the butter down to around 70g or so, and they come out fine.
elizabeth T. April 13, 2017
Thank you for the tip, i will try again. I think it was too much butter.
Anna M. April 14, 2017
They have a good amount of butter to give them that crumbly friable texture and rich flavour - chilling helps keep them from melting. I haven't had this issue but I hope you will try them again, they are usually completely reliable (and delicious!)
Joan S. December 11, 2017
total disaster. Melted all over the tray. Used parmesan and followed directions explicitly. Really annoyed.
Liz C. December 1, 2016
These were absolutely fantastic and I am not an experienced baker. Everyone raved about them, even people who don't know my history of disastrous attempts at cooking. This is now my go to food gift after years of failures. Thank you for sharing!
Laura November 14, 2016
Do you think the type of flour matters? I have access to both soft winter wheat flour and hard winter wheat. I wonder if the harder flour would make them easier to work with?
Claudia July 29, 2016
How long will these keep after baking them? I want to bake them at home and take them on a trip.
trvlnsandy July 29, 2016
they might be too tender to travel. I believe I've had them for several days, though.
QueenSashy July 29, 2016
I second that... We had them for three days (although they are yummiest when they are fresh and they disappear quickly), but these are tender little souls. They might travel better if you shape square logs, rather than round and pack tightly, with a lots of cushioning in between.
Marques May 31, 2016
Fantastic and very easy -- definitely a keeper!
Nadia B. February 10, 2016
If regular flour is all that is available how much baking powder would you add to account for self rising? I've read 1 cup of flour (all purpose) with 1 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt. Just wondering if anyone has tried this and if to forego the salt given the saltiness in the cheese?
Anna M. February 11, 2016
Plain flour will be fine, the sables will just have a different texture. I have never found adding the rosemary salt makes them overwhelming salty, I guess it depends on your cheese. They are just as good without!
QueenSashy December 27, 2015
These are among my favorite savory cookies. They are in our regular savory cookie rotation for parties and holidays. This time, I cut them really really thin, and baked them a little bit longer then recommended, until they were deeply golden and very crispy. One big YUM!
Harlan M. December 13, 2015
How thick a roll?
trvlnsandy December 13, 2015
As I recall, I made them about 1.5 inches -- depends how big you want them, I guess. 2" would still be ok. 1 inch - a bite.
Ghazzzit November 27, 2014
Made these as a gift using all parmesian and about 3/4 white whole wheat flour. They came out very delicate even after fully cooling so some slight adjustments need to be made for the drying factor if trying with whole wheat. I'd opt against adding any salt next time depending on the cheese used - parm was plenty salty.

@Ceege - there are many converters online but I'd highly recommend spending hte $8-$15 on a small digital kitchen scale. As a perhaps younger gen USA baker, every time I come across a recipe in cups I wish it were by weight instead. :)
Ceege November 10, 2014
This sounds like a perfect recipe to go with my "Ladies 2014 Christmas Luncheon" that I will hold mid Dec. Please let me know the first three ingredients in cups instead of grams. Us "old folks" in the USA do not know the conversions. Thanks for you help.
Cindy D. May 8, 2014
I have been searching for this recipe. My sister-in-law had a catering business and one day she made these, she put a half of pecan on top. I loved them but she refused to give me her "secret recipe" thanks for sharing this one. I love sharing my recipes.
robin April 18, 2014
hello all, I am wanting to make these for my gluten free family, and would love to know how to convert the ingredients. I use Bob's gluten free baking mix??? How much baking powder? Can anyone help, need these for Easter?
jan May 11, 2014
I have had good results by substituting Pamela's Baking Mix in equal part to the flour called for in the recipe. I do not add salt, baking soda or baking powder as these are already in the mix.
trvlnsandy March 14, 2014
I had indicated in a comment I'd frozen these and then sliced and baked. When I made that comment, they must have been newly frozen, as when I tried to do this with some yesterday, the slice shattered. No problem - defrosted carefully in the microwave. I believe it was 30% for 1 minute, then another.
Sarah February 19, 2014
Just made these and they are sublime, will keep this recipe forever!