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Cheese wafer variations

If I have time when I finish my Christmas shopping, I might well have to make these. Most people love 'em.

The first is an old family recipe that I've modified slightly; the second is from Southern Living. I keep thinking that sometime I'll get creative and try a blue cheese version. I also saw a variation with sage in a recent issue of Martha Stewart's magazine, but I didn't purchase it (and am kind of regretting it now). I think I'm on an unconscious quest to bake as many variations on these as possible, until I find the perfect combination. :)


Cheese Wafers
1/2 pound butter
1/2 pound cheddar cheese (NY extra sharp), grated
1/2 pound smoked cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, optional
2 cups self-rising flour (all-purpose will do)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, heaping tsp.
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Sift flour, salt, cayenne pepper and dry mustard together. Mix all ingredients together (a food processor is good for this), then roll dough into small logs on waxed paper. Slice into wafer size pieces (or roll into individual wafers by hand), then freeze until needed. Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes -- watch carefully. Halfway through baking, check wafers and press down with fork, if needed.

Note: This is adapted from several different recipes, including a recipe by Betty Long of South Carolina. She recommends putting logs in freezer, then slicing with an electric knife, but I have found this method to be a little easier, and it doesn't seem to affect the flavor.

This is a wonderful all-purpose recipe. Although it is time-consuming to produce, the results are worth it, as they are great to keep in the freezer for last-minute company or drop-ins, or for sending for funerals. They also mail well in holiday gift tins.


Parmesan Cheese Bites
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup butter or margarine, cut up
2 tablespoons milk

PULSE first 4 ingredients in a food processor until blended.

SHAPE dough into 2 (4-inch) logs. Wrap in plastic wrap, and place in an airtight container. Chill 8 hours. Freeze up to 3 weeks, if desired; thaw in refrigerator overnight.

CUT dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush with milk.

BAKE at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Yield: about 2 1/2 dozen.
Prep: 40 min., Chill: 8 hrs., Bake: 15 min.

Note: Baked cheese bites can be frozen up to 3 weeks. Thaw at room temperature 2 hours before serving.

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