Parmesan Shortbread with Rosemary

Parmesan Shortbread with Rosemary

Desserts are wonderful and as I got older I began to enjoy the sweeter ones, however, savory will always be my go to when it comes to any meal! This recipe is inspired from one of my favorite magazines and has produced what I can only call; Cheez-its on steroids, covered in galactic elf dust. You won't regret making these... until you eat them all and feel horrible.

Shortbread always makes me think of lembas!

2 sticks, good butter at room temperature
1/2 cu powdered sugar
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
3/4 tsp salt
2 cu good flour
2 oz finely grated Parmesan
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
1 tsp coarse salt
2 tbsp olive oil
plastic wrap
parchment paper

In a large bowl, mash and spread the butter until it all combines with a wooden spoon. Once smooth and as creamy as you can get it, add the sugar, pepper and 3/4 tsp of salt. Once the mixture has combined again and is more whipped in appearance, add the flour and cheese. The dough will be very granular while you stir, once the dry ingredients are uniformly absorbed by the butter start using your hands to press it together until it finally combines to form a sticky dough. Do not work this like bread flour, if you let the heat from your hands warm it too much the butter will melt - we don't want that. Spread a large piece of plastic wrap out and flatten the dough ball between it until you have a fairly square, 1/4 inch thick, wrapped dough sheet. Refrigerate between 1 hour and 5 days.

Remove the dough from the cold and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F and begin to unwrap the dough. Try to roll it out evenly to about the size of a large (legal) piece of paper; 11 x 14 inches and 1/4 inch thick (the thickness is more important than the length & width). Using a metal ruler cut 1 inch square pieces out of the dough, reshape and repeat until all the dough is used. You can make larger servings, however, I prefer smaller ones - they're easier to eat and less filling.

After placing each piece on a parchment covered baking sheet, paint them with the oil and sprinkle with the remaining salt and rosemary. Spread the pieces about half an inch apart before you bake the cookies on a higher rack in your oven for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan to cook evenly (you can also flip them if you want both sides flat). Continue to bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, watching the bottoms closely, as they will brown very fast near the end.

Remove from the baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack (you can do this by picking up the paper carefully, no need to move one at a time) to cool. Serve warm or cold, they last 3 days to a week at room temperature. These breads would freeze well and ship well, so share the love (butter)!