Recipe: Parmesan Shortbread

Put down your Cheez-Its. It's about to get real. Rarely does one come across a cheesy, carb-y snack that's not straight out of a box. There's a reason that kids trade for Cheez-Its at lunchtime, that you can breeze through an entire carton of goldfish in the time it takes you to watch a romantic comedy, that people buy cheese puffs by the barrel at Costco: cheesy snacks are delicious. This recipe is my grandmother's, and I first had these in a care package my sophomore year of college: not only did I not miss the brownies I'd been anticipating, I couldn't wait to get into a kitchen of my own to recreate the magic. Consider this an upgrade of epic proportions. A cheesy snack that actually justifies a bottle of wine; a cheesy snack that you could justifiably serve on a silver platter.

Parmesan Shortbread
Makes 40 hors d'oeuvre cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, cubed (two ¼ lb. sticks)
2 cups all purpose flour, unsifted
2 cups grated Parmigiana Reggiana
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine butter, flour and grated cheese in the bowl of a large size food
processor or prepare the dough in two batches. Pulse until the dough comes
together, then taste a small bit of it and add salt and pepper if needed.

Turn dough out onto a piece of aluminum foil and form it into 2 logs about
1 ½ inches in diameter, wrap and chill for two hours (this dough can also be frozen for a few weeks.)

Unwrap the dough and place on a wooden board. Cut into ¼ inch thick discs. Lightly
grease two cookie sheets and place the discs in rows of four by five.

Bake at 325 degrees for about 12 to 13 minutes, rotating the trays once. Remove from the oven and raise the temperature to 450.

With a spatula turn each cookie over and return the pans to the oven for 3 to 5 minutes, watching carefully. The color should be medium amber.

Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack before eating.

These are actually best after two or three days, and are especially delicious with red wine. Enjoy!

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