Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…Jack Frost nipping at your nose… These are delightful sentiments if you’re living or celebrating Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere. For those of us down under, the thought of being dressed up like Eskimos on a blistering Christmas afternoon is enough to send you literally into meltdown. When I was invited by the gang at Patience Brewster to join their digital cookie exchange to celebrate the festive season, I knew I would have to be creative. Many of the recipes published are for delicious sweet morsels that would go well with a warming hot chocolate or mulled wine. Not really suitable for an Australian Summer. Patience Brewster is a quirky gift and ornament website where all the designs have been created by Patience herself. Whilst it may be a bit too late to make an order for Christmas, it’s well worth a visit if you’re looking for something a little different for yourself or someone who’s hard to buy for. Every year they dedicate one of their ornaments to the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society and all proceeds from that ornament go to research. Their hope is to support a cure by researching less invasive therapies. This is a cause very near and dear to my heart, with Leukaemia having an impact on my own family in a very real way.
Whilst the Patience Brewster crew shiver in their boots and munch on sugar cookies in New York, Minnesota and Massachusetts, I’m sitting in Brisbane in shorts and singlet in front of a fan debating whether to turn on the aircon or to head out into the yard for a cool drink. If you take a look at any of the great baking blogs or spend more than a few minutes on Pinterest, you’ll see that the Christmas food photos and recipes are skewed decidedly in favour of sweet treats. I have decided to go against the tide and make a savoury biscuit to be enjoyed with Christmas drinks, cooling sea breezes and fiery sunsets. All to a mellow chill-out soundtrack.
I called these Parmesan Bites – using the same first letters as Patience Brewster. Similar in texture to a savoury shortbread, these are highly calorific and completely addictive. They are quickly made in a food processor and best of all, you can make a double batch of the dough and freeze the remainder until you need it. These Parmesan Bites are wonderful with a glass of Champagne or a very dry martini or, if you can resist, they can be packaged for gifts.
(adapted Marie Claire Food + Drink)
- 125g butter, chilled & cubed
- 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan, grated
- 150g plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 tsp smokey paprika
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds (or poppy seeds or both)
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the ingredients just combined.
- Remove the dough and form into a ball. Divide in half then roll each portion into a log approx 25cm long x 3cm wide.
- If using sesame seeds, roll one or both logs in seeds and then roll each log in baking paper and chill in fridge for an hour (or wrap in plastic and freeze if you are keeping for later).
- Preheat oven to 180c. Unroll dough, place on flat surface and cut into 5mm slices.
- Place bites evenly onto trays lined with baking paper – they will spread a little but not a great deal.
- Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown – watch for the last few minutes to make sure they do not catch and get too brown.
- Cool on wire rack and repeat with remaining bites.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge (they have a lot of cheese and butter in them) until you are ready to serve of gift.
Makes approx 6o biscuits
Thanks to Patience Brewster for inviting me to join their digital cookie exchange. All the best of the season to TIFFIN’s readers from all over the world regardless of their race, creed, colour or lifestyle. #IWillRideWithYou