What if your sweetheart doesn’t have a sweet tooth?
As a food blogger, I can’t ignore the fact that Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. Instagram is flooded with pink, red, and purple. Chocolate, heart-shaped everything and sprinkles galore. In my quest to always be a bit untraditional, and to cater to those who don’t love sweets, I got the idea for a savory Valentine’s treat—something to satisfy the salt-toothed sweetheart in your life. Yes, a salt tooth is actually a thing. Like, a real, genetic thing.
So, these are the product of my over-active imagination and my dreams (literally): Savory, buttery shortbread dough, flecked with aged, sharp cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, fresh chives, and coarsely cracked black pepper. They are like a cross between a cracker and a biscuit. Soft and super savory. Grab your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and get baking! Your sweetie (or salty?) will thank you.
PS: I’m working on some fun, sweet shortbread flavors, too! Stay tuned.
Savory Cheddar, Bacon, & Chive Shortbread
- 1 stick (4 ounces) soft, room temperature butter
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 2 teaspoons coarsely & freshly cracked black pepper (scale this down or up to suit your taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
- 2 slices cooked bacon, cooled and chopped finely
- 2 cups good quality, aged sharp cheddar, grated
- 1-2 tablespoons water
Get all of your ingredients ready. Your bacon will need to be cooked and cooled, so if you haven’t already, finely dice 2 slices of bacon and cook in a small skillet until very crispy. Drain on paper towels and let cool completely.
Place butter, flour, corn starch, pepper, salt in food processor fitted with steel blade and pulse until thoroughly combined. About 5 pulses.
Next, add chives, cooled and chopped bacon, and cheddar and pulse a few times until just combined. Your mixture will be quite dry at this point. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water through feed tube while mixer is running. Process until dough just clumps together. You want to see the flecks of cheese, bacon, and chives so don’t over-mix.
Dump dough onto parchment and press together to form a cohesive ball. Place more parchment on top and press dough into a flat disk. Alternatively, you could use plastic wrap.
Place dough in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Remove dough from refrigerator. On a lightly floured, cool surface, roll dough to 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick*. Using your favorite cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, cut dough into shapes and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Press scraps together and re-roll and cut dough until you’ve used it all up. I used 2 sizes: a 2.5 inch and a 1.5 inch heart shaped cutter and was able to get 12 large and 9 small shortbreads. These won’t spread, so you can put them pretty close together.
Place tray in refrigerator for at least 20-30 minutes. You want the dough very firm when you place them in the oven.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-22 minutes until fragrant and slightly golden.
Transfer shortbread to rack to cool.
Enjoy! They are delicious as is, but can also be served alongside soup or as part of a cheese board. They’d even be great with eggs for breakfast. I hope you love them!
*I prefer them thicker and softer, but if you want them to be really crispy, roll them thinner to about 1/8 inch and bake for a little less time. I’d start checking them around 15 minutes. They will be soft when warm and get crispier as they cool.
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