This is a guest post from Casey at Good. Food. Stories. — an excellent blog spotlighting culinary delights and offering up delicious recipes and techniques.
It’s mid-December and I’m feeling a little Grinchy. It doesn’t help to be bombarded with gift guilt on a freelancer’s budget, and that’s why I’m thanking my stars for the renewed popularity of the urban homesteading movement. No, I’m not planning on giving anyone their own brood of chickens this Christmas (unless you specifically asked for them – does anyone really want chickens?). But with projects like canning, quilting, knitting, and of course that crafty juggernaut known as Etsy becoming ever more mainstream, homemade holiday gifts are starting to lose their stigma. I can breathe easy in handing out boxes of goodies instead of gift cards.
As the resident cook/masochist in our family, I’ve been turning out boxes of holiday treats for years, from hand-dipped marshmallowy torrone. But the truth is that we all get a bit tired of cookies by New Year’s Eve, so I always like to offer up a few alternatives. These savory shortbreads are a bit off the beaten path and don’t require any unusual ingredients to send you running off to New York Cake and Baking Supply (note to counter people at NY Cake – I love your store, but would it kill you to turn on the charm once in a while? Bah, humbug!) When Williams-Sonoma is selling a package of similar cheese wafers for $34, you can afford to double the recipe and still save money! (And you still have to slice and bake Williams-Sonoma’s version before gifting.) Make these in bulk and package away.
And speaking of packaging, these printable gift tags for your edibles, courtesy of Cottage Industrialist, lend a definite whiff of professionalism to your in-house kitchen operations, and are perfectly retro-modern.
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 oz. (about 1 cup) grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 small garlic clove, minced
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Preheat the oven to 350ËšF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix the flour, 3/4 cup Parmesan, salt, garlic, and cayenne in a food processor by pulsing a few times, then add the butter and pulse 3 seconds on, 3 seconds off until a crumbly dough starts to form. (This is the same technique as you would use to make a pie crust in your food processor.)
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, gather into a ball, and divide in half. Roll each half into a 12-inch log – if your dough is too mushy at this stage, just place on the baking sheet in the fridge for 10 minutes until it firms up again.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are dry and bottoms are golden brown. Cool completely on a rack. The shortbreads can be stored in an airtight container for about a week before gifting, or frozen for about a month.