2 C. flour
1/2 t. salt
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 lb. butter, at room temperature
1 lb. extra sharp cheddar cheese, or St. George cheese, grated
60 pecan halves for decoration
Sift together the flour, salt and cayenne.
Cream the butter, then start adding the grated cheese, 1 cup at a time, blending
until well incorporated. Add the flour mixture and blend well. Shape the dough
into 2 logs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the dough into 1/4-inch rounds. Place on
ungreased baking sheets, press a pecan half on top of each cookie. Bake for
about 8 minutes, until the wafers are light brown.
Transfer to racks to cool completely. Store in airtight containers, placing wax
paper between layers. The dough logs, well wrapped, and/or the finished wafers
may be frozen for up to 4 weeks.
Yields 5 dozen wafers.
8 oz. parmigiano-reggiano or aged montasio cheese, grated (about
2 T. plus 2 t. all-purpose flour
1 t. freshly ground black pepper or 1/2 t. ground cumin or dried rosemary, or to
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients. Heat a heavy 10-inch nonstick
skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Reduce the heat slightly.
Using a soup spoon, a measuring cup or a coffee cup, sprinkle 1 ounce (about 1/3
cup) of the cheese mixture evenly over the bottom of the skillet to make a thin,
lacy pancake. You should not be able to see the bottom of the skillet. You may
have to adjust the heat; the cheese should sizzle when it hits the pan, but it
should not smoke. Cook the crisp until the fine grains of cheese have melted
together and the edges are just beginning to brown. Remove the pan from the heat
and let sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute to set. If the crisp hardens too much,
return the pan to the burner for a few seconds to warm it. With a plastic
spatula, gently lift the crisp up by one edge and slide it onto a wire rack to
cool until hardened, about 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining cheese mixture.
When the crisps are completely cool, they can be carefully stacked and stored in
a tin or box. Serve the crisps whole or broken into large irregular quarters and
arranged standing in a basket.
Free-form Parmesan crisps (oven method): This method is a little easier than the
stove-top method, though the crisps aren't quite as charming looking. Success
depends on using Silpat bakeware liners or other silicone baking mats to keep
them from sticking to the baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a 16
1/2-by-11 1/2-inch Silpat liner on each of two 17-by-13-inch baking sheets.
Sprinkle the cheese mixture evenly over the liners to form a large sheet of
cheese on each. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until the crisps are bubbling and
slightly puffy and the edges are golden. Let cool a minute or two, until the
crisps are firm enough to slide off the liners onto a cutting board to cool. Cut
into squares or rectangles with a chef's knife, or you can break the crisps into
free-form shapes. The crisps will keep for about 1 week in an airtight tin.