Parmesan and sun-dried tomato biscuits
It’s not very often that I bake savoury snacks, in fact, it’s pretty much never. This would probably be because the treats I want to eat and share, are sweet. I’m afraid all my guilty indulgences either have sugar, butter or cream as their main ingredient. However, there are, I acknowledge, some times when cake just won’t do and when your body says no to more sweet sugary snacks (hard to believe but true!).
So when a colleague recently asked me to bring something savoury for an office birthday morning tea, I decided to take up the challenge. There were a few things to consider. First, I didn’t want to have to rely on the office’s excuse for an oven and so my food would need to be eaten cold or at room temperature. It also needed to be able to have survived being made the day before and refrigerated. Thus all those puff/shortcrust pastry ideas I had would have to be scrapped – there was no way I’d be serving up soggy pastry. What I ended up deciding on was a cheesy biscuit and having sun-dried tomatoes in my fridge I thought I’d add in a few of those as well. On reflection these biscuits would also be great for pre-dinner nibbles, cocktail parties or, as in my situation, for a savoury option at a morning tea. Their size can be easily varied to suit any occasion and once you’ve rolled them out, could be easily frozen for convenience.
180g parmesan cheese, grated
50g sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 ¾ cup plain flour
2–3 tbsp cold water
1. Make sure you butter is at room temperature. Often I will just zap it in the microwave for 10–15 seconds to avoid having to wait. Mix together the first five ingredients in a large bowl (an electric mixer makes this a doodle).
2. With your mixer on its slowest setting, gradually add the flour. Depending on the weather that day, you may find you need slightly more or slightly less than the recipe says. You should end up with a crumbly mixture that can be brought together with your fingers.
3. Add 2–3 tablespoons of cold water to the mixture to make a dough that holds its shape when compressed but is neither sticky nor falls apart.
4. Divide the dough in two and shape one half into a log about 15 cm long. Wrap in cling film. Repeat with the second half of dough. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
5. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Remove the cling film and cut your logs into 0.5 cm thick rounds.
6. Place biscuits on a lined baking tray, leaving 1–2 cm to allow for spreading. Bake for 15–20 minutes, checking after 15 minutes to see if the middles are cooked. They should be lightly golden.
7. Once ready, remove the biscuits to a cooling rack. Biscuits will harden on cooling.