Wednesday, November 19, 2008

English Cheddar Shortbread

One of the zippiest flavors amongst the many varieties of cheeses is a sharp English-country cheddar. It ranks right up there with the greatest of the French fromages, and for me, that is saying a lot.

Although, the cheese I used for these biscuits is technically Irish, the flavors from the various countries of the British Isles tend to be similar. In fact, the original recipe is actually called Scottish Sharp-Cheddar Shortbread...but who's counting? :-)

I used Dubliner Cheese, a sharp, white cheese. It is very dry; it crumbles a bit when you attempt to slice it. It is apparently riddled with calcium lactate crystals. Why....I cannot tell you. It is delicious on crackers or thinly sliced in an omelet adorned with fresh tomatoes. I also like to grate it over top of my salads, especially when accompanied by slices of Gala apples. This cheese pairs very well with almost any variety of apple.

I had a large 2 lb. block of this scrumptious cheese in the fridge that was begging for some attention. I discovered this recipe at epicurious and decided to give it a try:

Irish (Scottish/British) Sharp-Cheddar Shortbread

1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
pinch of cayenne
8 oz. sharp white cheddar, shredded
1 c. all-purpose flour

Using whisk attachment on your mixer, blend butter, salt, pepper and cayenne together on low speed until just mixed. Add cheddar and flour, mixing on low just until dough sticks together. Bring together completely with your hands and wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 in. thickness and cut out with biscuit cutter or top of a glass. Place on either greased cookie sheet or one lined with parchment paper.

Bake until golden around the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes on sheet. Then, place on rack and let cool the rest of the way.

The cheddar biscuits were a perfect complement to my black bean soup. Pure buttery, cheesy goodness. They had a certain melt-in-your-mouth perfection about them.


Rye-Rye said...

My internet is working now...and I am very tired, though I will say those biscuits look delicious! :-)

Laurel said...

Peeling my eyes open....
I'll try to remember to bring you one tonight. ;-)

healthily sanguine said...

Oh man! My mom every year for Christmas makes her "cheddar balls," which are a very similar thing. The three main ingredients of butter, cheese, and flour are there. Oh, they are so rich and good . . .