Showing posts with label black pepper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label black pepper. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Cheddar Chive Shortbread #CreativeCookieExchange

Cheddar chive shortbread is buttery, savory and crisp when first out of the oven, the perfect accompaniment to your afternoon tea or evening cocktail time. 

Shortbread is a traditionally sweet treat but since the main ingredients are flour and butter, I figure there’s no good reason it can’t be savory as well. This month’s Creative Cookie Exchange theme is cheese so I thought it was a great time to test my theory. I am pleased to report that while it feels funny calling these cookies, shortbread is definitely considered a cookie, so here we are. And they are delicious! They are rich and buttery, with a lovely hint of heat from the black pepper and cayenne. They can stand up to a strong drink as well a good cup of tea.

1/2 cup or 113g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 oz or 225g extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons finely minced chives or green onion tops
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinches paprika to decorate, optional

In your electric mixer, beat together your butter, salt, black pepper and cayenne until you have a smooth paste.

Add in the cheese, flour and chives and mix at low speed until they form a soft dough.

Shape the dough into roll, wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper, and chill 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C and line your baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Unwrap the roll and slice the shortbread into circles about 1/4 in or 1/2cm thick. Place on your prepared baking sheets leaving space around for them to spread. I put mine a bit close together thinking I might fit them all on one pan and ended up needing a second pan for the balance of six cookies. Learn from my errors and just space them more evenly on two pans to start with.

Sprinkle on a little paprika to decorate, if desired. You can use cayenne or black pepper instead but I was afraid mine might be too spicy for my taste testers.

Bake the shortbread until lightly golden and beginning to brown on edges, about 10-12 mins.

I decided that I didn’t like the rough edges for a civilized teatime treat with Manzanilla sherry so I cut them out with a glass to even the edges. This is a totally unnecessarily step, but they do look nicer, don’t they? And we loved the little toasted crumbs that were left behind.


Check out all the other lovely cheesy cookies my Creative Cookie Exchange friends have made. Many thanks to Renee of Magnolia Days for doing all the behind the scenes work this month!

Creative Cookie Exchange is hosted by Laura of The Spiced Life. We get together once a month to bake cookies with a common theme or ingredient so Creative Cookie Exchange is a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts at The Spiced Life). We post the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

Pin it! 


Monday, January 19, 2015

Buttermilk Cheddar Mini Muffins #MuffinMonday

Mini muffins are the perfect small snack, especially when they are made with extra bitey cheddar cheese, buttermilk and a good sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper. 

I had a baking failure today. No, not these lovely little muffins. They are a breeze to slap together and bake up golden, with crunchy outsides and more-ish insides. I could have eaten all 12 singlehandedly, so I made myself quit at one and I brought them along to share with my Bible study ladies. Where I proceeded to eat two more. Cheesy muffins are one of my weaknesses. The major failure was the coconut rum shortbread cookies I’ll be sharing tomorrow.

I creamed the butter, add the powdered sugar and then the rest of the ingredients. Spread the dough out and popped the pan into the oven, smugly thinking to myself, “with time to spare!” I set the timer for 12 minutes initially and checked on the shortbread when the bell rang. It was bubbling! I mean seriously, truly, like I had made caramel in the baking pan or something, bubbling. And that is what you get when you bake a cup of butter with powdered sugar, some coconut and a little cornstarch. A viscous mess that will never, ever become cookies. I forgot the flour. Totally user error. Man, I hate when I do that!

And that is my excuse for eating three cheesy muffins. Consolation. You find your own excuse.

1 cup or 125g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 oz or 85g extra sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup or 120ml buttermilk
1/4 cup or 60ml canola or other light oil

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and liberally grease your 12-cup mini muffin pan. You could probably stretch this batter to 18 mini muffins if you fill the cups three-quarters full.

Grate your cheddar, if it’s not already grated.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and a few generous grinds of black pepper.

In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together your egg, buttermilk and oil.

Pour your liquids into the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.

Now fold in all but a handful of the grated sharp cheddar.

Divide the batter between the prepared cups in the muffin pan. Top the batter with the reserved grated cheddar. Give each one another good grind of black pepper.

Bake in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the muffins are lovely and golden.

Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes then remove to a wire rack to continue cooling.

These are fabulous warm or room temperature and go great with a glass of wine or whatever cocktail you might be serving.


Ever have a disaster in the kitchen? Do share!

What a difference some flour makes, right?! 
Check back tomorrow when I'll be sharing these wonderful coconut rum cookies with rum glaze for Creative Cookie Exchange.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Smoked Salmon Potato Stacks

If you are looking for a change from crackers and bread as a base for canapés, may I suggest sliced potatoes? They work particularly well with cream cheese and smoked salmon. Check out my deliciously adorable smoked salmon potato stacks! It's a delicious combination. And naturally gluten-free.

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I have neither crackers or bread. But I almost always have potatoes. Panfry a few thick slices and you've got the perfect base for the spread of your choice. 

I created this recipe a few years back for Appetizer Week. Since then I've served potato slices with many other toppings but you can't beat this classic combination.

Smoked Salmon Potato Stacks

Quick to make ahead and quick to assemble, your party guests will love these easy to eat finger food.

2 potatoes (Together mine weighed about 13 3/4 oz or 390g.)
Olive oil
5 oz or 140g cream cheese at room temperature
4 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Tiny piece purple onion 1/3 oz or 10g
6 oz or 170g thinly sliced smoked salmon
Chopped parsley, mint or fennel fronds to decorate, optional

Peel your potatoes and slice them into rounds about 1/4 inch or 6mm thick. I got about 10 or 11 good slices from each potato and discarded the end bits, which would have been too small to match the rest.

Drizzle a little olive oil on a non-stick griddle pan and cook your potatoes in batches until they are browned on both sides and cooked through. Set aside to cool.

Mix the cream cheese, yogurt and lemon juice together in a small bowl and give it a generous few grinds of black pepper.

Thinly slice your purple onion.

Put the cream cheese mixture in a Ziploc bag and cut a small corner off so you can squeeze it out.

Share the cream cheese mixture out between the cooked potato slices, reserving just a little bit to garnish.

Cut the smoked salmon slices into skinnier pieces and roll them up. Set two or three small rolls on the cream cheese mixture.

Finish with another small dab of the cream cheese mixture and top with a sliver of the purple onion. If you like onion and know your crowd does too, feel free to put more.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley, mint or fennel fronds to decorate, if desired.

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.