What a week! What? It’s only Wednesday?!
Let’s see. Our fridge broke over the weekend and we lost all of the food in it. Yes the temperature inside somehow shot up to 68 degrees overnight. On a positive note the freezer was fine! Also, we showed up at the gym at our regular 530am yesterday and for some reason no one else did – that’s right, we were locked out. After waiting 15 minutes, we called it. But I was happy to come home to my still-hot pot of coffee and have another big cup! And then yesterday I was having tech issues with my site – basically I was being haunted by pictures that I had deleted but were showing up in random places in this post! It was enough to drive me crazy! But luckily I have amazing tech support so this morning the problem is solved! However if you see pics of salmon and rice show up amidst pics of these lovely little cheese boards, please do let me know.
I hope the rest of this week is smooth sailing. Are you entertaining this weekend? How about serving something that will really impress your company! Every single time I make these recipes I’m sharing today, two things happen. One, they all get eaten. Every single one. And two, everyone is beyond impressed that they are home made. Ok three things happen: everyone wants to serve them for their next event! Because having something home made on a cheese board is completely unexpected and an idea that, I believe, really elevates the whole experience. I mean, Triscuits are delicious, but no one leaves your party raving about them.
For a smaller get together or if we’re just having some pre dinner cocktails, I’ll make a simpler, elegant board like the ones pictured here today. If I’m hosting a lot of people, I’ll use my giant round board (it’s huge and it’s awesome) and load it up with an abundance of different flavors and textures – nuts, dried fruit, some prosciutto, jams, olives, a variety of soft and hard cheeses, and of course the vehicle for all of that cheese: these homemade savory short bread cookies…and also probably a crusty baguette, because, well, bread.
These two recipes are the opposite of boring – they’re unexpected, full-of-flavor, buttery and soft, salty and crunchy, and they pair incredibly well with a number of cheeses and jams. Whip these savory cookies up in no time at all, keep them in the fridge or freezer, and if unplanned company shows up over the holidays you are good to go. Slice and bake! Little effort but major reward.
The Stilton Walnut Shortbreads are an Ina Garten classic from her cookbook How Easy Was That? I like to pair them with fig jam and more blue cheese – but an old cheddar is fantastic as well.
The Sweet Rosemary Butter Cookies are inspired from this recipe and it was shared with me by my sweet friend Stephanie who knows a great recipe when she sees it (and luckily for us, was willing to share it!) The sweetness of the cookie balances perfectly with Herb and Shallot Boursin cheese, but I think a smoky gouda, or a spicy red pepper jelly would work really well, too.
Make these this week, before the craziness of December sets in, then store them in your freezer for up to 2 months! You can have both of these recipes assembled in LESS than 30 minutes. Switch them to the fridge the night before your company comes (or for up to 1 week) then simply slice and bake for a quick elegant appetizer that will leave everyone impressed.
2. In your mixer bowl, cream the butter and Stilton together with the paddle attachment for about 1 minute, until smooth.
3. On low speed, add the flour, salt, and pepper and mix until large crumbles form. Add 1 Tbsp cold water and mix until dough comes together.
4. Remove dough to a floured surface and shape into a log about 12 inches long. Place log on a parchment-lined sheet pan (this helps contain the mess of the crushed nuts) and brush completely with egg wash, then sprinkle walnuts over top and roll log back and forth, lifting the parchment and pressing it into the sides of the log to help the walnuts adhere.
5. Wrap the parchment sheet tightly around the log, then plastic wrap around the parchment and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 days. Log can also be frozen for up to 2 months, then removed from the freezer to the fridge the day before slicing and baking.
6. Preheat your oven to 350 and line a sheet pan with parchment. Unwrap the log and slice it into 1/4 inch slices and bake until lightly browned and golden, about 22 minutes. Cool on the pan and serve at room temperature.
7. For the Rosemary Sweet Butter Cookies:
8. In a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, white pepper and rosemary).
9. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat at high until it all comes together again. If it looks curdled at any point, just keep going with the mixer on high until it’s fluffy.
10. On low speed, add dry ingredients and blend just until combined.
11. Gather dough into a ball and divide into 4 portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough into logs about the diameter of a quarter and 14” long.
12. Wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or up to one week or alternatively, freeze them for up to 2 months. Remove to fridge from freezer the day before slicing and baking.
13. To bake, preheat oven to 350. Slice cookies into narrow rounds (about 1/4" thickness) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, spacing about an inch and a half apart.
14. Bake until cookies are light golden, about 16 minutes.
15. This recipe can be halved easily. For the egg, simply beat it with a fork and add half to your recipe.
* 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, room temp
* 8 Oz Stilton, room temp (12 Oz if it has the rind - remove it before proceeding)
* 1 1/2 Cups Flour
* 2 tsp Salt
* 1 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
* 1 Egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water, for egg wash
* 1/2 Cup Walnuts, finely chopped
* For the Sweet Rosemary Butter Cookies:
* 2 Cups Flour
* 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
* 1/2 tsp Salt
* 1/2 tsp White Pepper (optional)
* 2 Tbsp Very Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary
* 1 Egg
* 1 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temp
* 1/2 Cup Sugar