Cheese Shortbread

A glass of great Champagne needs little else, but a crunchy, buttery, savory shortbread can only add to the experience. And these are divine: not only are they easy to make, you can make the dough (or bake the crackers) ahead of time to keep things simple on the big day (save that extra time for opening the Champagne). If you’re really trying to impress, serve these little rounds with smoked salmon or a dollop of creme fraiche and caviar.

CHEESE SHORTBREAD

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or 1/4 teaspoon if you like it spicy)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (preferably sharp)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

To the bowl of a food processor, add flour and cayenne pepper; pulse to combine. Add butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
Add cheese to the food processor; pulse until combined. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
Using a fork, stir in milk and Worcestershire sauce until well combined. Have ready several pieces of parchment paper.
Form mixture into two 1-inch-diameter logs, and wrap in parchment. Transfer the logs to the refrigerator, and chill until very firm, at least 1 hour. (The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove logs from refrigerator, and cut each one into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place the rounds on prepared baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart.
Bake the shortbread until golden, about 12 minutes, rotating baking sheets between shelves halfway through baking.
Transfer shortbread to wire racks to cool. Bake remaining dough. Store in an airtight container up to 2 days.

Makes about 12 dozen

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