Thyme, Cheddar Cheese Cookies

In an effort to stay true to this blog, this was not an easy recipe!  Well, let me correct that.  The way I made it was easy.  The baker’s instructions led me in a direction that was way off base.

I knew I was in trouble when I began mixing the cheesy, butter mixture with the flour.  She said to mix, “…until the flour forms wet clumps (and there are no dry spots in the dough.”  Yeah, that didn’t happen.  

My dough had small clumps of buttery goodness wrapped up in very dry flour, and when I transferred it from the bowl to the cutting board there was a pile of dried mess.  Kneading the dough into a log shape was not gonna happen.

I have absolutely no clue how she had such a wet dough, and one that allowed her to roll it into a sausage shape wrapped in plastic wrap.

Usually when I go rogue from a recipe, I fail and I fail really well!  I knew there was absolutely no way to correct whatever I had done wrong, but I also knew that I had a really yummy shortbread dough.  So I grabbed a 8×8″ baking dish, poured the crumbly mess in, and patted it down to create a flat surface.  I poked it with a fork a few times to release the air, and popped it in the oven.  Came out like a champ!  These are seriously delicious!!!

My square cookies are not nearly as charming as her perfectly round ones, but their flavors are divine!  I would serve these by themselves or they would be beautiful on a charcuterie board.  Be careful though, they’re delicate.

One note:  Once I pulled all of the thyme leaves off of the stems, I ran a knife through them.  In chopping them up (jut a bit), the flavor of thyme becomes stronger.

Thyme, Cheddar Cheese Cookies (recipe care of theflavorblender.com)

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INGREDIENTS:  6 oz good quality white cheddar cheese from a block (not pre-shredded), 4 oz unsalted butter ½ cup (softened), 2 tsp cracked black pepper coarsely ground black pepper, 1 ½ tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 heaped tsp of dried thyme, ½ tsp sea salt (cheddar cheese is salty too, so add more salt only if you’re using a different cheese), 5.3 oz AP flour about 1 ¼ cup AP flour (spooned and leveled)

DIRECTIONS:  Shred the cheddar cheese using a grater (large grater holes are ideal). Place the butter, shredded cheese, black pepper, salt and thyme in a bowl and mix with a hand-held beater on medium speed. Mix for a few minutes until the butter is creamy and the cheese gets mixed in with the butter. Add the flour, and mix on low speed until the flour forms wet clumps (and there are no dry spots in the dough). Bring the dough together to form a dough ball. Knead it a little if needed (to bring it together). But don’t knead too much. Form an evenly shaped dough log that’s about 6-7 inches long. Wrap it in plastic wrap. Knot the two ends to form a tightly wrapped dough “sausage”. Refrigerate until the dough has chilled – about 30 min to 1 hour. You can also let it chill for up to 5 days in the fridge, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to bake – remove the log from the fridge (or freezer). If the dough is too hard to cut through, let it thaw a little (so that it’s still chilled, but easier to cut). Unwrap the dough when you’re ready to slice it. With a sharp knife, cut ¼ inch thick discs from the dough log. Use your fingers to shape the cookies into nice round shapes, if they lose their shape a bit. Place the sliced cookies on a parchment paper-lined baking tray and let the tray chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the chilled cheese cookies on the parchment paper-lined half sheet pan, with about an inch of space between each cookie. Bake in preheated oven for 10 – 12 minutes for a soft cheese cookie – remove the cookies from the oven when the bottom edges of the cookie are starting to color. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes for a crispy cheese cookie – remove from the oven when the cookies start turning golden in color on top. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let them cool completely. Repeat with the remaining sliced cookies (make sure the half sheet pan is at room temperature for this second batch of cookies – so either use a new half sheet pan, or cool down the previous one to room temp. first). Place the cooled cookies in an air-tight container for up to 4 days. OR wrap them in plastic wrap, and then in foil, and store in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 1 month. Serve at room temperature.

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