Cayenne Cheese Rounds

January 14, 2008
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Every good cook has his or her favorite cheese snacks. Some call them ‘straws,’ some call them ‘rounds.’ Whatever, they’re a must for any buffet or cocktail party. This recipe has an especially taste-tempting balance of hot pepper and mellow cheese and egg. Warning: make more than you think you’ll need. SAM

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
1/2 cup butter, cut in 1/2-inch pieces (1 stick)
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons ice water

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cheese, pepper, and paprika. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks and add the ice water, beating until frothy. Stir the egg mixture into the cheese mixture to form a ball of dough. Dust with flour, cover, and chill until firm, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Form the dough into 48 small balls, place on a lightly floured surface, and flatten with a fork dipped in flour. Place rounds on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks.
Makes 4 dozen.