I had something of a wheat thin addiction in college. For an entire summer, I am fairly certain I went to the grocery store almost exclusively for those yellow boxes and, well, beer. I’m not proud. But, for the record, we did throw at least a few backyard barbecues and I remember making a fresh salsa (wondering how the heck one removed the little leaves of cilantro from the stems) and helping my friend Louie make ribs (on a industrial size charcoal grill he’d “borrowed” from his fraternity). But, back to the wheat thins.
After college, I became intrigued by all the letters on those wheat thin boxes. And I’m not talking about n-a-b-i-s-c-o. I’m talking about the quadruple-plus-syllabled-words in the ingredients list. I investigated, became icked out and quit wheat thins cold turkey. I miss those salty, crunchy little squares more than I care to admit.
And that’s why I am on a mission to fill the void they left in my heart. It started with savory biscotti. And then I made some cheese straws (not. one. photo., which is a terrible shame because they were darn tasty). And now I’ve found these lovelies: savory parmesan shortbreads.
With a process similar to slice-and-bake cookies, these are a make-ahead dream-come-true. They’re also delicious—nutty, buttery, browned around the edges and flecked with rosemary. In the end they’re not much like my once-beloved wheat thins at all—but, you know what? They’re way, way better.
Savory Parmesan-Rosemary Shortbread Rounds
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix flour, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, garlic, rosemary and cayenne pepper in processor. Add butter and, using on/off turns, process until dough begins to come together.* Gather dough into ball. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into 12-inch log, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour. Slice each log into thin rounds and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese over the rounds.
Bake shortbread rounds until tops are dry and bottoms are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer shortbread rounds to rack and cool completely.
* My dough was rather dry at this point, so I added a splash or two (1 – 2 tablespoons) of milk, which did the trick.