There are days when I can’t face another cookie. Sometimes it’s a baking binge that does it – I go on a rampage and we have cookies lying around the house for weeks, driving Wonk the Plank to the edge of insanity with the thought that they might be wasted. Sometimes it’s the excess of the holiday season – who wants a cookie after eating countless cookies and pastries at holiday parties?
Last week it was the parade of sweets at the office that did it for me – we violated our usual healthy office policy and went on an epic sugar binge (can someone say Girl Scout cookies?). I didn’t even want to look at a cookie, let alone bake one.
So I decided to mix things up a little, and made a savory shortbread cookie for part two of the March Shortbread project. I found this recipe for Parmesan, rosemary and walnut shortbread cookies on Epicurious, which sounded easy, fast, and perfect as a before-dinner nibble. The only change I made is that I was out of rosemary, and substituted fresh thyme instead.
I realized as I was throwing these together that the recipe was shockingly similar to the Parmesan black pepper crackers I baked last December. Both cookies were made from a simple dough of flour and butter, flavored with Parmesan cheese and herbs. Both were crisp and buttery, a perfect foil for a creamy spread or a slice of cheese.
Parmesan, Thyme and Walnut Shortbread
Adapted from Epicurious
8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbs minced fresh thyme
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, until toasted. Remove from oven and finely chop. Let cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream your butter. Add the Parmesan and mix well. Stir in the flour, thyme, walnuts, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Remove from bowl and place on a lightly floured work surface. With the palms of your hands, gently form the mixture into two logs, each one inch thick. Refrigerate for one hour or up to three days.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice logs into 1/4 inch slices. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes, until golden at edges. Let cool on a wire rack.