Monday, December 19, 2011

Lemon Pepper Parmesan Shortbreads

       Twisting shortbread to make it savory is one of the nifty tricks I've been playing with.  And these luscious nibbles are one of my favorite holiday tastes with a citrus and pepper bite.  These work equally well with mid-day tea or as party food with a glass of wine.
(These have a smaller amount of sugar than regular shortbread - to let the savory flavors speak up.)

They're teeny tiny, so nibble a few!
Recipe - Lemon Pepper Parmesan Shortbreads

Equipment:
stand mixer
rubber spatula
3C (or larger) plastic snap top container
melon baller/small spoon (I'll explain)
baking sheet (+ silpat)
small grater
pepper mill

Ingredients:
1 C (2 sticks/8 oz.) butter
1/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 C powdered sugar
1 Tbs lemon zest (1 lemon - see below)
1 tsp pepper (grind right then, or use a little more)
1/2 C grated parmesan
2 C flour (stir in 1 tsp salt if using unsalted butter)

Prep:
Use the small grater to gather 1 Tbs lemon zest (the shiny fragrant part of the peel.  Avoid the bitter white pith.)  Grate the 1/2 C of parmesan cheese.  Grind a tsp of pepper - or use a little more if you have it pre-ground.
Put the butter in the mixer, and beat it until smooth.  At slow speed add in the sugars, pepper, lemon zest and grated cheese.  Use the spatula to scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl and make sure all the ingredients are combined.
With the mixer back on slow, add in the flour.  Mix until just combined.

Scrape the dough into the plastic snap top container, and pop in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight. (Or you can make these way ahead and freeze the dough.  Thaw overnight before moving on to the next step)

Cook!
Preheat the oven to 300˚F.
Use the melon baller to scoop out little balls of dough and place them about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.  These have so much butter in them you don't need to grease the cookie sheet, but a silicone baking mat makes everything easier.
When you have a pan full, pop them in the oven for 8-12 minutes (depending the size of your melon baller).  Look for light browning on the bottom as the sign that the cookies are done.

Brew up a pot of tea and taste test a few!

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