Like fish sauce, anchovies and hard-boiled eggs, blue cheese is one of those things that tastes better than it smells. And smell it I did, when I baked these shortbread crackers, or cookies, as they appear.
The smell of baking blue cheese will fill your house with that distinctive aroma, sure to drive away intruders who do not have a discerning nose. I quite liked the smell, which wafted up with the roasting walnuts and nutty shortbread. Indeed, these crackers are delectable. Biting into them, you will at first be hit with a sense of saltiness and (somehow) cheddar cheese ( ? no idea why), which then gives way to pepper and a gentle breeze of blue cheese.
Delicious as an appetizer, along with some fresh fruit, perhaps some nuts and of course a full-bodied red wine. Exactly how I served them.
I adapted this recipe from Ina Garten, of course.
Blue Cheese and Walnut Shortbread Crackers
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 8 ounces blue cheese (Stilton, or, heck, you could use Gorgonzola), about 12 ounces with rind, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cheese together for 1 minute, or until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour, salt and pepper and mix until it’s in large crumbles, about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of water and mix until combined (Ina is so smart – the water and butter add the perfect amount of moisture to make a dough).
Dump the dough onto a floured board, press it into a ball, and roll into a 12-inch long log. Brush the log completely with the egg wash. Spread the walnuts in a square on a cutting board and roll the log back and forth in the walnuts, pressing lightly, and distributing them evenly on the outside of the log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 4 days.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut the chilled log 3/8ths-inch thick and place the crackers on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 22 minutes until very lightly browned. Rotate the pan once during baking. Cool on racks and serve at room temperature.
Enjoy, friends! xoxo