An old family favourite, you can whip up a batch of these easy spicy cheese shortbread biscuits in under 30 minutes. Great as a quick snack or for tucking into a lunchbox.
Total Time Investment: 25 Minutes
My Nana had two small notebooks, stuffed full of recipes she had gathered from family members, friends or members of her community. The recipes stretch across the pages in her familiar handwriting; some are credited to a family member, for others the original author is unknown. Some of the pages are marked by splodges of food, possibly indicating a favourite recipe. On others, the ink is starting to fade along the well thumbed edges. The books are full of family history, from a time when life was simpler and there was always something to eat for afternoon tea.
One Christmas, for my mother, I collated all the recipes into one book. As I typed, I discovered old family favourites and conjured up memories of regular visits to Nan’s place. I kept my own copy of her book, and through this semi-regular series I intend to share some of her old recipes with you. I’ve already shared her super-easy scone recipe (so easy even I can make them), and today I bring you her cheese shortbread biscuits.
Nan made these cheese shortbread biscuits a lot. I still remember the thrill I would get upon arriving at her place and finding a new batch in the square Tupperware container. She would make them often for garden parties, or for an afternoon of mahjong, and if we were lucky we would arrive at her place just in time for the leftovers.
I hadn’t eaten a cheese shortbread for all the years since Nan died, and it was only when I revived the recipe for The Princess that I remembered just how much I love them. The Princess likes them too, and requests them regularly. As they are so easy to make, and I remember my Nan every time I eat one, I’m happy to make them a lot.Whip up these easy #spicy #cheese #shortbread #biscuits in under 30 minutes. #recipe #snacks Click To Tweet
This particular recipe will work with any hard cheese, but is best with a high fat cheddar. Don’t try to substitute a low fat cheddar in this recipe. The fat in the cheese contributes to the texture and flavour of the shortbread.
Nan’s original recipe calls for self raising flour. I don’t normally keep self raising flour on hand, so have reworked the recipe to use baking powder as the raising agent. If you prefer, replace the plain flour and baking powder with self raising powder.
Making the Best Cheese Shortbread Biscuits
As I mentioned above, this recipe is all about the cheese. Choose something full flavoured (and full fat). If you chose a tasteless cheese, your shortbreads will also be tasteless.
It may seem a bit of a phaf, but you do need to flatten each ball with the fork as soon as you place it on the tray. If you don’t, the butter re-solidifies and the biscuits can crack quite badly as you try to flatten them out. If the biscuits crack too much, just re-roll them and flatten them again.
These cheese shortbread biscuits will last in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Nana's Cheese Shortbread Biscuits
- 113 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 150 g (1 cup) plain flour
- 135 g (1 cup) grated cheddar cheese
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 175C.
Line a tray with baking paper and set aside.
Mix the flour, cheese, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper together in a large bowl.
Melt the butter, either in a small saucepan or the microwave, and pour over the dry ingredients. Mix well.
Roll a scant tablespoon of the mixture into a small ball. Place the ball onto the lined tray, and press flat with the tines of a fork.
Repeat with the remainder of the mixture
Bake for 15 minutes, or until the shortbreads are golden brown. Remove from the oven.
Cool the shortbreads on a tray for five minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Don't wait until all the balls are formed before trying to flatten them with the fork. As the butter cools it will re-solidify, making the balls more difficult to press, and they are likely to crack.