As Cheryl and Griffith Day explain in their new Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, southerners love cheese. And I love southerners, specifically, Savannahians (more on my visits to Savannah and BITDB, specifically, coming up on Friday).
Now I’m back home in the midwest and pining for the south, so of course I’m flipping the pages of my obsession. It’s worse, now that I’ve visited the bakery from which it was born.
So…cheese. Why am I thinking of cheese the Tuesday after Easter, for crying out loud, when all the vacation and holiday indulgences need to be atoned for for the next, um, month? Answer: cheese is cute.
And delish. I’m telling you, these should come with a warning label. They’re tiny and adorable and far too easy to pop in your mouth in multitudes once you get a load of their cheddarificness.
These Rustic Cheddar Pecan Rounds remind me of a savory pecan sandie. I was caught off guard by the cayenne, but shouldn’t have been – southerners love heat, too. Add a little more if you want to crank it up a bit. Try these for your next movie night, party or picnic – I equate them to popcorn on the repetitive munchability scale!
To note: this recipe calls for teaspoon-sized balls of dough, but I increased that size by about 1/2 teaspoon to make a slightly bigger round, which yielded 36 rounds vs. the recipe’s 48.
Rustic Cheddar Pecan Rounds
Excerpted from the Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl Day & Griffith Day (Artisan Books). Copyright 2012. Photography by Squire Fox.
Approx Prep: 20 minutes Bake: 12-15 minutes Yield: 48 rounds
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 TBSP pecan pieces
8 TBSP (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
Smoked paprika (optional)
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cayenne pepper.
3. Place pecan pieces in a food processor and pulse several times, until finely chopped. Add the butter and cheese and pulse until a smooth paste has formed.
4. Add flour mixture and pulse a few more times, until the ingredients are well-combined. Removed the dough from the food processor and place it in a bowl.
5. Using a teaspoon, scoop out a piece of dough, roll it into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, leaving about two inches between them.
6. Using the tines of a fork, flatten each round slightly while creating a criss-cross pattern.
7. Bake 12-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time for even baking. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle each round lightly with paprika, if desired, for a little color and smokiness.
8. Allow the rounds to cool on a rack. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.