You might think of sweet, crumbly cookies when you think of shortbread, but they can be savory as well. Personally I have been a connoisseur of shortbread my whole life, so when I saw this recipe for cheesy jalapeño shortbread I knew this was going to be made in my kitchen ASAP. And, these piquant little drops of heaven did not disappoint.
This shortbread relies on the time-tested combination of jalapeño and cheese. Even before these went into the oven the aroma of the peppers and cheddar together had my interest. The freshness of the jalapeños is the perfect compliment to the rich, buttery shortbread and the cheese. For this recipe I used sharp (orange) cheddar but you can use white cheddar, pepper jack, Monterey jack, or Irish cheddar.
The addition of young cheese does add quite a bit of moisture to the dough, as does the fresh jalapeño and 1 egg. Because of this extra water in the mix this shortbread isn’t dry and crumbly. Instead, there is a slight chew to these biscuits (as the English might call them) that makes them extremely addictive.
To begin making this recipe you’ll need to cut in the butter into the flour until you get a sandy mixture. Then add in 1 beaten egg and mix well before adding the chopped jalapeño and the cheese. Then pulse this altogether in a food processor for just long enough for a wet meal texture to form.
If you go overboard with the food processor then you’ll end up with green shortbread- not the worst thing but not as pretty as with the lovely speckles of green and orange still visible. Next you roll the dough into a ball, cover it in plastic wrap, and then let it chill for at least an hour.
Then while the oven is preheating when you’re ready to bake roll the dough into 1″ balls and line them up on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
Then take a flat-bottomed cup and flatten them out. For years I did the much harder method of rolling my shortbread into logs, then chilling, then trying to get a perfect slice each time for form the cookies. The ball method is infinitely easier and kind of fun and it’s now the only way I roll (get it?) with shortbread.
Then bake these shortbreads until golden brown. Depending on how moist your flour and cheese are you might need a little more or less baking time. Since the shredded cheddar I used was not at all dry I left mine in a little longer and they came out beautiful.
This cheesy jalapeño shortbread is an ideal snack, would be great to serve at a party where desserts are overflowing, and believe me when I say these are perfect served alongside chili. If you’re a shortbread authority in your family then this is one recipe to add to the recipe box immediately.
Cheesy Jalapeño Shortbread
Makes 30-32 shortbreads
1h 30m prep time
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, cubed
- 2 cups grated cheddar or pepper jack cheese
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2-3 fresh jalapeño peppers, finely minced
- Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry knife or two forks. Mixture will be dry and crumbly. Stir in beaten egg and then add cheese and jalapeño. Roll into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 400°F. Roll dough into 1” balls and place on greased or lined baking sheet spaced 2” apart. Press each cookie to flatten slightly using a flat-bottomed mug or jar.
- Bake for 14-18 minutes or until shortbread is just beginning to turn golden brown. Allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before serving.
Recipe adapted from Food 52.