PARMESAN SHORTBREAD WITH FENNEL AND SEA SALT

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As I am not much of a super sweets person, I am always a fan of treats that blend both sweet and savory. These shortbread cookies do just that. A slightly sweet, buttery shortbread is perfectly paired with parmesan cheese, fennel seeds, and Maldon salt. The result is a cookie I would happily eat on a daily basis with my morning cup of coffee.

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PARMESAN SHORTBREAD WITH FENNEL AND SEA SALT

Makes around 18
1 cup organic unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups all purpose flour or pastry flour plus more for dusting
1 cup finely grated parmigiano reggiano
1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1-2 teaspoons Maldon sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat butter in a medium bowl on low speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, pepper, and kosher salt. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Scrape down sides as necessary. Add flour and grated cheese. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat mixture just until dough comes together.

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Wrap dough in plastic and flatten into a rectangle. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours.

In a mortar and pestle, coarsely crush the fennel seeds. Transfer to a small bowl. Place some Maldon salt in a small bowl as well.

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Arrange the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove plastic wrap from the dough. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to a 10”x8” rectangle about 1/4” thick. Cut in thirds crosswise, then cut each third crosswise into 6 rectangles. Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheet, spacing 1” apart. Brush cookies generously with oil, sprinkle with fennel seed and Maldon salt.

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Bake, rotating sheet halfway through until cookies are golden brown around the edges, 15-20 minutes. Let cool on sheet for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cookies can be made 2 days ahead and stored at room temperature.

Enjoy!

(Recipe adapted from “The Buzz”. bon appetit, March 2012: 70)

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