Monday, August 24, 2009

Speaking of cookies

Never look through cookbooks when you are hungry. The original purpose for paging through several of my favorite cookbooks was a hunt for a recipe for english muffin bread; it rapidly turned into a list of things to make in the coming month.

The larder is almost bare, with meals planned to the end of the month. But I do have baking supplies on hand; the Cheddar Shortbread called out to me.

Cheddar Shortbread

2 c sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 c butter, melted
1 T water, optional

Toss dry ingredients together; mix in butter. Mix with your hands to form a dough, adding water if it feels too dry. Roll out half the dough at a time on a floured surface to 1/4 to 1/8" thick. Cut with cookie cutters and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat until all dough is used.

Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to rack to cool.

Half a recipe made 14 cookies; the quantities above should make about two and half dozen, depending on the size of your cutter.

It's difficult to describe the flavor. Similar to the cheddar biscuits at Red Lobster, but much less greasy. More buttery than Cheese Nips, with more cheese flavor than flavor-blasted Goldfish.

The cayenne adds a punch - if you are fainthearted, you may want to leave it out.

All this domesticity (heavy duty cleaning, layering quilts, cooking smothered barley with chicken, baking a cake and making these all in the span of three days) is a bit out of the ordinary for me. I think it's the change in weather; while it will be in the eighties again tomorrow, a real feel of fall is in the air. Whatever is spurring it, I hope the energy and ambition last - cleaning the pantry has been on the to-do list for two years!

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