Who says cookies have to be sweet? I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so I prefer nibbling on a savoury snack over drinks. As I wrote in another post, I have a lot of siblings. When we were little, we had a rotation schedule for chores like doing the dishes or setting the table. Like any kid I hated doing my chores, but I knew my mum would be mad if I didn’t do them. So I thought of an inventive way to do as little chores as possible. How? When my mother gave us candy I would not eat it, but store it in a container in my closet instead. Whenever it was my turn to do a chore I would take out my container and bribe one of my sisters or brothers to do it for me in exchange for a sweet (or two). One of my sisters, let’s call her K, who had the biggest sweet tooth of all of us would always be willing to do my chore for a sweet. There was one time I managed to go all summer without doing the dishes, setting the table or doing any chore whatsoever. Am I genius or what…….?
So let’s go back to my original question…….….. Who says cookies have to be sweet? I don’t! These tender, crumbly, buttery Parmesan Cookies from Ottolenghi ‘The Cookbook’ are a delicious savoury snack. They are a twist on the traditional sweet slice-and-bake shortbread cookies. The savoury twist on this cookies is the use of lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and some spices. Because they are sliced with a knife before baking you don’t even need cookie cutter. They are great for entertaining as most the dough can be made in advance, rolled into logs and left in the freezer until needed. When frozen take the log out of the freezer a couple of hours before you want to bake them and just slice and bake when your guests arrive. They are the perfect companion to your favourite appetizer bites and a refreshing drink.
By the way, there is one exception to my ‘not-so-sweet-tooth’ and that is homemade cakes or pies. You can safely leave a bag of candy or chocolates in front of me and find it untouched when you come back. However, leave a deliciously smelling homemade cake or pie with me and there won’t be a crumb left when you come back. Forced to choose though I will always go for the savoury option. I once read that people who prefer savoury snacks over chocolate and other sweets are called ‘supertasters’ This means that the flavours they taste are stronger than how most people perceive them. I have no idea what the pros and cons are of being a ‘supertaster, but I just love the thought of being a super anything…… 😉
I did not try it yet, but I can image you can get creative and customize your own savoury cookies with different spices and cheeses. Maybe add a pinch of smoked paprika or some fresh chopped rosemary. How about using some spicy cheddar or aged Gouda?
The amount of Parmesan in the recipe is perfect. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you’re putting too much Parmesan in your cookies. If that ever happens: stop talking to them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. I don’t always make jokes, but when I do they are pretty cheesy.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. If you try it, please let me know! Leave a comment, telling me if you liked it. You can also tag your photo on Instagram with @culyzaar or post it on my Facebook page so I can see it. I love seeing your takes on the recipes on my blog!
Source: “The Cookbook” – Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
- 210 gr plain flour plus plenty extra for dusting
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- a pinch of salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 165 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 165 g Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 80 g poppy seeds
- 1 free-range egg beaten
Sift the flour, baking powder, paprika and cayenne into a bowl and add the salt and pepper.
Mix the softened butter with the freshly grated Parmesan until they are well combined (by the way, don’t even consider using the so-called Parmesan cheese you find in the pasta aisle of your supermarket) . You can do this either by hand, using a spatula, or in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the dry ingredients and continue mixing until a soft dough is formed.
Put the dough on a well-floured work surface and divide it in two equal parts.
Use plenty of flour, both on your hands and on the work surface, to roll each piece into a long log, 3–4cm in diameter. Wrap each log in cling film and place in the fridge for about 1 hour to firm up.
Scatter the poppy seeds over a flat plate or tray. Brush the logs with the beaten egg and then roll them in the poppy seeds until covered.
Refrigerate again for 1 hour (at this stage you can also wrap the logs and freeze them).
Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Cut the logs into slices 5–8mm thick and arrange them on the tray, spaced 3cm apart. Bake for 12 minutes. The biscuits should be dark golden and smell amazing!
To ensure their crunchiness, leave to cool completely before serving, or store in a tightly sealed container.