If by some chance you like to have your wine and eat some cookies too, this is a recipe for the file. And if by another chance you could care less about wine but require a sweet treat no matter what, I’m confident you’ll be equally pleased to indulge in one of these.
The savory elements of black pepper and Parmesan are at play here, which makes them a great partner for wine or other adult concoctions. But at the same time these crumbly, buttery cookies are subtly sweet, with a balance of crunch from cornmeal and some sea salt – just as delicious with tea or espresso.
To me that equates to a perfect ratio. I love shortbread cookies for the very reason they’re not overly sugary, yet deliver a richness of flavor I find irresistible.
There’s just enough cornmeal for sandy texture, and Parmesan cheese fills the kitchen with a tempting aroma as they bake. The last touch is some lemon-infused sugar sprinkled over the top of the warm shortbread.
parmesan, black pepper and cornmeal shortbread
Yield 12 - 16 cookies
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup brown rice flour
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup stoneground cornmeal
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Sift both flours and the salt over a medium bowl; use a whisk to stir in the cornmeal, cheese and pepper.
- Pulse the butter and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor until creamy; add the flour mixture and pulse just until a soft dough forms (about 30 seconds).
- Pat the dough in an even layer into a 9-inch square or round tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Bake 35 – 40 minutes, or until the top is very lightly golden and the dough feels set when pressed gently. Stir together the granulated sugar and lemon zest and sprinkle over the top of the shortbread as soon as it comes out of the oven.
- Cool the pan on a rack 10 minutes, then unmold the shortbread and cool 10 more minutes. While it’s still warm, cut the shortbread with a large, sharp knife into 16 squares or 12 wedges.